Lawyer representing civil society organisations (CSOs) in the suspended Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water George Chaponda has warned of severe consequencies for defying a High Court order following reports that the Minister has sneaked out of the country to Germany on ministerial duties.
Chaponda arrived in Germany on Friday defying a court order suspending him from official duties.
Wesley Mwafulirwa, lawyer for Charles Kajoloweka and some CSOs said Chaponda risks severe consequencies when he comes back home.
“There will be repurcussions, severe consequencies,” said Mwafulirwa.
He said he will be filing contempt of court charges in the High Court which might lead to Chaponda’s arrest, seizure of his property or pay a fine.
Reports sourced by Nyasa Times indicates that Chaponda has travelled to Germany on a Business Class Ticket approximately costing over K4 million tax payers money.
According to findings, he is attending the meeting to do with the Shire Basin Project in his capacity as Malawi Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development despite the suspension.
This is against a Court order restraining him from discharging his ministerial duties until 31st January 2016 when the court is expected to make a rulling on government’s appeal to have the injunction vacated.
Agriculture ministry principal secretary Erica Maganga confirmed to a parliamentary inquiry Friday that Chaponda was on official duties in Germany.
She said the trip was organised before the court injunction, way back before Christmas.
Parliamentarian for Karonga Central, Frank Mwenefumbo, asked Maganga about Chaponda’s trip to Germany, she initially said the question could best be answered by the Office of President and Cabinet.
“…don’t refer us to OPC because if we want to talk to OPC, we have their numbers and we can call it anytime and ask them. As the Principal Secretary where is the minister of agriculture and where he has got his ticket to Germany,” queried Dowa East parliamentarian, Richard Chimwendo.
Maganga then said:“Indeed I work with the minister. But I’m referring the committee to OPC because a minister’s travel is facilitated by the OPC.”
But Mwenefumbo said: “Madam PS you have here two former minister and deputy ministers who are aware that the one who originates a letter to the OPC for the minister to travel is the PS. It goes there for the President’s approval. The reason why the honourable members are asking is whether you have written any letter for the President to approve.
“The line ministry is the one who buys the ticket and processes the minister’s allowance. OPC facilitates communication between line ministry and State House or presidency,” he said.
Chaponda and Admarc CEO are accused of under dealings in the procurement of maize from Zambia, allegations denied by Chaponda and Mulumbe.
Mzuzu based Youth and Society (YAS) Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka alongside other three CSOs obtained the injunction stopping Chaponda from performing his ministerial duties inorder to pave way for smooth investigations on the infamous Maizegate Scandal currently under investigations.
It is being investigated by four separate inquiries including the one instituted by Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the graft bursting body Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Chaponda’s mobile phone could not be reached on Friday giving a benefit of doubt that indeed he might have travelled abroad.
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