The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is indecisive as on what action to take against its vice president for south George Chaponda currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over his involvement in the procurement of maize from Zambia.
Chaponda was on Wednesday relieved of his duties as minister of agriculture, irrigation and water development by President Peter Mutharika just a day after ACB investigators confiscated K124 million, $57 500, 2 720 Indian rupee, 518 Ethiopian birr, 610 Pula, 1 200 meticais, 1 250 Kenya shillings, 80 Hong Kong dollars, 1 010 Japanese yen, 22 370 South African rands, 55 euros, 29 Zambian kwacha and 100 Namibian dollar from his house.
And now he is liable for prosecution on related money laundering charges contrary to the Penal Code and the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act as well as corruption charges contrary to Section of the Corrupt Practices Act.
In an interview on Wednesday the party spokesman failed to clarify its stand regarding the embattled second-in command and once considered as powerful minister in Mutharika’s cabinet.
DPP Publicist Francis Kasaira told Nyasa Times that no decision has been made by the party on Chaponda whose presence within the political grouping continues to divide followers.
“The President made his decision and as a party I don’t expect us to follow suit at same time. The party has its structures, it meets regularly and we have not yet met on that,” said Kasaira.
He was however quick to describe Chaponda’s case as in-house matter yet to be dealt with by the party’s politburo.
“The party’s politburo will meet on that and make decision. Once that decision is made the public will be informed about it, but as of now its in-house matter,” he added.
Mutharika’s instituted commission of inquiry on Zambia maize procurement saga led by retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa while confirming Nyasa Times’ earlier reports that money did not exchange hands in the maize deal, found Chaponda and a privately owned company Transglobe of suspicious corrupt practices on the maize procurement.
The commission recommended that the two should be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
A special Parliamentary Committee on the same maize saga as well as Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) also faulted Chaponda on his role in the procurement of the said maize.
Meanwhile, opposition political parties and activists have called on Mutharika to shake up his cabinet and fire other ministers alleged to be involved in corruption.