An 8-seater plane that state vice president and UTM party presidential hopeful in Tuesday’s tripartite elections, Saulos Chilima, used to fly to the island district of Likoma on Friday remains detained at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) with authorities citing “suspicious activities” of its crew members and passengers.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) spokesperson James Kadadzera suggested the detention was in the interest of national good.
“The plane number ZS-SDS owned by Fair Aviation has been detained due to suspicious activities of its crew members and passengers which the Malawi Police Service and other security arms are currently investigating in the interest of national security,” reads the statement in part.
The plane, according to police , landed at KIA on 17 May, 2019 and flew to Mzuzu and then Likoma Island. The plane flew back from Likoma to Mzuzu on the same day and proceeded to Lilongwe.
The statement adds that “government has booked two pilots of the ‘suspicious’ plane at a local hotel as they wait for the Malawi Police Service and Civil aviation authorities to complete investigations.”
President Peter Mutharika, during his last political rally at Njamba Park in Blantyre, said he “knew everything about the plane, who was in the plane and what the plane was doing in the country.”
Nyasa Times’ sources say, among other, chartered plane’s crew used a false application to enter Malawi.
Pictures of the aircraft have been circulating on social media showing members of Saulos Chilima’s UTM party hanging by.
“Contrary to their application, the crew flew the plane to Mzuzu where they carried Saulos Chilima to Likoma and back to Mzuzu. The plane later flew back to Lilongwe where authorities grounded it.
“Airport security sources at Likoma International Airport have disclosed that Chilima had a secret meeting with the crew who are known to have a military background,” a source said.
On Saturday afternoon, Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and the police searched the plane in the company of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and lawyer Chikosa Silungwe.
“Some security officers who went on the search have leaked information that the search found a very suspicious communication machine which is still being kept as a state secret.
“MDF and Police are said to have called in Chinese experts to assist with a forensic analysis of the suspicious device,” said the source.
Nyasa Times has learnt that police is also investigating the South African crew that was on board.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :