Chaponda says he is ‘prepared’ for arrest on Malawi ‘Maizegate’ scandal: ‘Let them prove me guilty’

George Thapatula Chaponda—the erstwhile Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Leader of the House— has said  he is prepared for his impending arrest over corruption element in Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia.

DPP administrative secMphepo (right) with Chaponda: I am ready to be arrested

Two state sponsored public inquiries recommended that Chaponda, who is alsp the vice president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), should  be investigated.

Graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), has said Chaponda is under investigations and could be arrested.

Legal commentator based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, Professor Danwood Chirwa  argued that Chaponda has “committed or is alleged to have committed a litany of legal infringements including flouting procurement law, gross negligence in the discharge of his public duties, perjury, arson, corruption and money laundering.”

But there has been suspicions and accusations that Chaponda is being shielded from prosecution with commentators branding him a “sacred cow” in the fight against corruptiom.

In a political rally  in his Mulanje South West constituency at Chonde in Mulanje on Sunday which was attended by ruling party gurus including secretary general Griselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey, said he was ready and prepared to be arrested.

“I have been waiting to be arrested because people have been saying so,” said Chaponda, a lawyer by profession.

He denies any wrong-doing.

Chaponda, flanked by DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepho,  said he is “still waiting” for his arrest.

“The law says you are innoncent until proved guilty, so I am not afraid, let them prove me guilty,” said Chaponda.

Reyneck Matemba, the deputy director of the ACB said the bureau is still making forensic investigation of suitcases stashed with cash – US$58,000 and MK124 million seized at his house during the raid in February this year.

ACB raided Chaponda’s residence following a recommendation by the commission of inquiry into Malawi’s maize imports from Zambia that he should be investigated.

“You should understand that we are doing a a good job. We are still analysing how he got the money, we are analysing the electronic gadgets. We confiscated phones, ipads. Some of them had pass words, this delayed our investigations,” he said.

Matemba said the ACB also confiscated similar items from suspects in the ongoing Zambia maize corruption saga.

The ACB second in command said his organisation is coming up with good charges for Chaponda.

“We are looking at analysis of forensic investigations. Forensic investigators took four days to crackdown on mobile phones  [belonging to Chaponda]. There  is progress, we need to come up with a very good case and good analysis and that is what we are doing now,” he said .

“If we are to charge Dr Chaponda with existing currency exchange laws on the money we found in his house, then he could get away with very lenient sentence and the people would blame us for this. People should be patient. We cannot start to prosecute him in piece meal. We cannot start isolating cases,” he said.

Matemba could however not say how soon the investigations would take. Asked recently on Capital Radio’s Straight Talk program when ACB will summon Chaponda for questioning.

“At the bureau we do not just summon an accused person for questioning when we do not have basis. Being found with money in your house is not a criminal offence on its own,” said Matemba who is also ACB prosecutor.

“We want to establish where  the money we found from Chaponda came from. We will do our investigations. If we call Chaponda to the bureau before we conclude our investigations, people will think we are disorganised,” he said.

Matemba continued: “ We would rather finalise the investigations and invite him for questioning.”

He said the bureau is workly closely with  Reserve Bank of Malawi on the cash which was seized from Chaponda’s residence.

“We have made tremendous progress [and] we will be inviting  him to be questioniong. We are not shielding Chaponda,” he said, adding “one aspect of investigation can lead tp another. We are about to conclude investigations.”

But law experts say Chaponda  has been afforded enough time and space to build his story, saying investigations could have gone ahead having interviewed him under caution which is not a presumption of guilt.

Chaponda justified why he is cash-rich after they confiscated at least K166 million stashed in suitcases at his house, saying he  has worked for the United Nations (UN) for over 20 years and has his own investment..

He  also submitted his assets declaration form to ACB which indicates he hold many bank accounts in foreign countries where he worked for UN.

A lists of assets Chaponda declared as of  February 1, 2017 seen by Nyasa Times shows that he has 20 real estate properties in Lilongwe, Blantyre, France, Luchenza, Mangochi, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.

According to Chaponda declaration, the source of funds for the property, valued at K853 million, included bank loans and his earnings from the UN, United Kingdom, South Africa, France and his children abroad and Chaponda investments.

University of Malawi political scientist Boniface Dulani is in record saying that the decision to fire Chaponda from Cabinet  was forced on  President Peter Mutharika who would have maintained the minister if he had his way.

Dulani said the maizegate—just like Cashgate on Joyce Banda—will forever be associated with the Mutharika’s regime.

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29 thoughts on “Chaponda says he is ‘prepared’ for arrest on Malawi ‘Maizegate’ scandal: ‘Let them prove me guilty’”

  1. zangaphe says:

    I dont see Chaponda being arrested. Remember Kamlepo told us that somebody was coming from Zambia to sue ADMARC for breach of contract. Did that sue take place? Can I trust Kamlepo and Chidant over the results of their kafukufuku if they lied that Malawi Government will be sued? In short I could see that the Parliamentary committee lied on the following facts:
    1. Kamlepo said that Selling Agents in Zambia will sue against Admarc in Malawi. Which court have they sued? If this was a lie , do we need to trust the results of their kafukufuku?
    2.Please come out clean by telling Malawians , how much money exchanged hands from PTA betwen Malawi and Zambia maize agents? The most important tangible evidential matter could be how much money did Malawi lose.
    3. If PTA paid money to Zambian agent, then bring out that transaction. This is very important.Otherwise parliamentary committee hurried in bringing the issue out before the players started scoring goals.

  2. The Partriot says:

    Just arrest the maizegater….full stop! This guy is guilty until proven innocent….eish! Maizegate suspect………office bonfire……loads and loads of money in his house….!! Even a fool cannot miss the links on this one……one must be very very dumb to think all these are mere coincidences!! As a taxpayer I get so mad at people who play with our money the way the maizegater did. Verily verily I say unto all Partriotic Malawians that unless we get angry at corrupt politicians we will never prosper! Imagine munthu ngati akuba anthu ali ndi njala!! #arrest the Maizegater!!! Or he is trying to joke with us? Last time I checked we dont have ” Malawi got talent!”

  3. CitizenX says:

    DPP are not worried about 2019 elections, am sure by now they already have a rigging system in place, that is why they are so arrogant to the malawians. DPP is not a party anymore but it is a MONARCHY, Bingu, Peter, we are now waiting for the next king to rule us with an iron fist. the only way out is for us who are learned to civic education our friends who are not so that they learn to vote for our brighter future. lets us all begin to campaign for a better malawi, please

  4. dee kay says:

    MWAOTCHA OFFICE, MWABISA NDALAMA NDIPO ZINA MWAGULA NYUMBA KU USA. MWAOTCHA MA FORGED INVOICE NDIYE MUKATIUZE KUTI MULI READY? KODI POLICE YA KU MALAWI NDI YOPUSA CHONCHI KUTI MBABVA IZICHITA MUKUUZANI KUTI TSOPANO MUKHOZA KUNDIMANGA NDABISA UMBONI? CHITSIRU CHAPONDA CHIMANGA

  5. kholowa mkabudulak says:

    Chaponda worry not man you will sing again that song once we get in power! Stupid old man, thief an old piece of dry wood you are!

  6. Gwamba says:

    Santana you big-mouthed foolish DPP supporter who will always lick Mathanyula’s ass even with your empty stomach. Who says DPP will win hahaha I laugh at you bootlicker. Your region is the most hungry region always disturbing us at our doors seeking for maize husks, and now you have already started exchanging your maize with mere plastic shoes kkkkkkkk Lhomwe guys you never stop to amaze us. You have already forgotten how desperate for food you were even at the point of trying to fake a flood coz you are used to handouts, is that what you call development from your Mathanyula? Nonsense!!!!! No wonder you are using devil’s name bastard.

  7. chidebewachidebe says:

    a useless bureau.

  8. Dr Akweni Mulanje West says:

    Nanga bodyguard wachisilikali akutanipo as if Chaponda is still minister

  9. psyta says:

    kkkkkkkkkkkk !!! Kodi Dulani ndi wa Civics kapena Political Science ??

  10. MZIKA says:

    ….Being found with money in your house is not a criminal offence on its own,” said Matemba who is also ACB prosecutor.

    are you sure? these people are creating a hiccup of money circulation no wonder the gap of poor and rich is wider due to selfish rotten minded people like Chaponda

  11. mtete says:

    Just like Muluzi’s case, this one could go on for years as long as DPP is in power.

    The guy has had ample time to tamper with evidence. Beside, I don’t the the money found in his house is all his. This is DPP’s for election rigging

  12. chitete says:

    chipox khala chete mbuzi yamunthu

  13. santana says:

    Mr Mathanyula, Iam happy that your language in the comment is a proof to all DPP supporters that you have thrown out the towel. You know you and your opposition friends are dry of facts and the only way to release the anger is to to speak obscene. You have no way out. The 2019 elections has already indicated that no opposition party has a chance to win. What else can you do apart from kutukwana? Don’t cheat yourself that the ”maizegate” will cost DPP some votes. How many DPP stronghold places have acted negatively on this issue? Mention these places and tell us to which party have these former DPP supporters switched to? People have got nsima in their houses, donors are coming back, World Bank is supporting the APM administration, the IMF is talking sweet of this govt, what else do you need to prove that the DPP has no weaknesses that the opposition can bank on? Mr Dulani has tried to use the Afrobarometer to write fake opinions to give an impression that the MCP will make it in 2019, but the truth of the matter is being seen by the voters on the ground. Tell me one DPP stronghold where people have defected because of Chaponda? Tell me where these people have defected to, MCP? Mayi kalanga ine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. mbwabwa says:

    In Lhomwe Thapatula means Mbava

  15. DPP MBOLA says:

    CHAPONDA KNOWS THAT HE CANNOT BE ARRESTED. THIS BECAUSE HE WAS SENT BY APM TO DO THE ZAMBIA MAIZEGATE.

  16. banyanabanyana says:

    Malawians are stupid.They do not know that every crime has elements.The elements in Sithole case and those for Chaponda are very different. Chaponda has been working world wide for creating his woarth while Sithole worked only at capital hill where he stole our taxes. When Sithole was asked, the guy accepted that he stole from account # 1. Even documents were tendered in court for evidence and this thief did not refute it a mare allegation. In the case of Chaponda please help me with the following questions:
    1. How much did Chaponda steal?
    2.Where does Chaponda keep his money for daily use? Not in his house? Who does not keep money in his house to start throwing stones to Chapo…?
    3.As you made strong accusation against him, the president fired him. Is firing him not enough for his crime of suspect.
    4.Aren’t you jealousy of him?
    5. Gondwe made false statement about teachers holiday pay. How many stood up against? Where was Kajoweka to act against Goodall? Do we need to keep ministers who tell lies? Or you are waiting for another minister form south to make the same mistake so that you can all Tumbukas stand up against him in parliament. Don’t be selfish, especially Tumbukas.
    4.

    1. MZIKA says:

      Sithole got the money from Lutepo to buy maize….. not that he stole from capital hill….. and dont hate tumbukas as if your life depends on tumbukas no wonder ur making senseless argument here munthu ngati chaponda ndiwakuba no wonder amakanika kuka banker ndalama zonsezo
      mwina sukuziwa iwe kuti 140 million ndi matumba angati a ndalama nanga 50 000 dollars ndi thumba lanji muzaombera mfiti manja ndikupusa inu

    2. Kent Y.G. Mphepo says:

      Dear Mr. Banyanabanyana,

      I am not a politician but a concerned Malawi. Just three questions to you: if your argument that there is no offense in keeping large sums of money in the house is true: a) why did police and the ACB decide to tell the nation that they had found a lot of money in Hon. George Chaponda’s house? b) why did the ACB and the police decide to confiscate the money? c) why was “Hon. Chaponda’s money” taken to Reserve Bank of Malawi for safe custody by the ACB and police? Didn’t these law enforcement bodies (police and ACB) know that there is no law that prohibits people from keeping large sums of money in a house?

      I personally think that we Malawians avoid rushing into making conclusions on this serious matter. I personally believe that Dr. Chaponda is innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of law. It is the courts that will decide on this matter. We will complicate this matter further by trying to make wild arguments and conclusions. Let the police and ACB conclude their investigations and take the matter to court. Otherwise, let’s remove emotions from this national matter. Let’s be objective in handling national matters. If Hon. Chaponda is guilty let the law take its course. If, on the other hand, he is innocent, let the law take its course. Anything else will be wishful thinking at this point.

      Just my view..

      Kent Y.G. Mphepo – Blantyre

  17. Jasitasi Chilungamo says:

    ACB is crap.Too selective in handling matters.They never took so long in Sitholes cases who was playing around with sacks of stolen dollars and million of kwachas in his house. Chaponda took so long to admit about his issue followed by burning his office to hide some evidence. We need justice in Malawi.Why should we care that he worked in the UN and has several properties.I thought akuba masiku ano ndi anthu amene ali ndalama kale.Where are the Kasambaras?To end corruption,they should stop looking at people’s statuses.The law should apply to everybody equally.Whether he is the most powerful man in dpp who cares?Malawi is not a property of Chaponda and Dpp.Malawi is for Malawians.We are fed up of greedy people who thinks they are the only people to benefit from the system.

  18. Thyolo Thava says:

    Ma office mwaotchaotcha …evidence mwathawitsa nde udziti ” I am ready for arrest ? are you serious in mbava za dpp?

  19. kagame says:

    You were quick to charge sithole on similar offence. Why the snail speed on chaponda ?

  20. Its NO use to arrest Chaponda. Its a worst of money and time. In Malawi NO government officials especially close to APM can be convicted. People or using quite protest like in the West can kick Chaponda from politiska and for good and better for Malawi and Malawians. VOTE out DDP 2019.

  21. Push Kankhani says:

    Hahahahaha! Chaponda, God is going to deal with you not the government.

  22. odala says:

    Please Chaponda, can you take Kamulepo to court for character assassination? Teach this bwenubwenu a lesson, a bitter one for that matter. Unless if there is concrete evidence, otherwise this is a police case straight away.

  23. gwenyethe says:

    The maizegate has done a big damage on the DPP. Its unbelievable how people are articulating the Chaponda issue. Even the so called villagers whom we expect to have little understand and interest on national issues are talking about how DPP is working tirelessly to shield the maizegate man. I was in the village (DPP stronghold) recently and I have noted how this issue will become one of the hot election issues in 2019. APM had an opportunity to act and act fast but he lost it. So even villagers know that the firing of Chaponda was too little too late. Dausi will dispute this at DPP’s peril.

  24. Maunits says:

    Agree with Dulani maize gate with be associated with Muthalika regime. This is surprising to day that people are being prosecuted because of being in possession of one million kwacha worth in dollars. What is this we are seeing with Muthalika man these guys are professional thieves really. Our taxes are stolen and this govt is not going any where. No direction for Malawi how can a suspect stay away from investigation for a bout a year and ACB telling Malawians that they are building proper charges what is this folishness.

  25. BWINTOTO says:

    Oh,Chaponda wakokela timphanvu tsopano waona kuti anabisa umboni;anatentha office.
    Komatu akunama Mulungu siangamubisile

  26. Mathanyula says:

    Ngati ukutchalenja chonchi waponda mwala but just know that tikupha tokha galu iwe. Your elder brother mfiti ija imagona ndi njoka where is he now? Let me tell you, you are better off behind bars than outside here. We will snipe you chimunthu chonyansa nkhope ngati kumatako a Pitala Mathanyula nonsense!! Chibwanu chonyansa ngati mchimbudzi chokumba choti chadzadza. Pachiphwisi pako ndi akazako omwe shupiti zako.

    1. marcus says:

      munthu amangidwe uyu chifukwa zikuwonetseratu kuti anabadi chifukwa sakupeza tulo ango ganiza nthawi zonse kuti aona zotani

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