Law scholar raps Malawi Minister Chaponda over suitcase cash stash:  ACB hailed for ‘Bank Nkhonde’ burst

Malawian legal commentator based at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, Professor Danwood Chirwa has weighed in on the operation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raiding the  residence of Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda where  they seized  suitcases stashed with cash – US$58,000 and MK124 million.

Dr Danwood Chirwa: Chaponda has 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
Chaponda: Cash in suitcases
Authorities counting millions of cash found at Chaponda’s house. The cash has been taken to Reserve Bank of Malawi

ACB raided the  residences of Chaponda and senior managers of the State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

But the seizure of suitcases stashed with cash at Chaponda’s residence has triggered debate amongs Malawians on social media with many condemning the minister for running what they call “Bank Nkhonde”.

Chirwa, a legal expert based at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, commenting on the development, said the widepread expressions of horror at the discovery of a huge stash of cash at a minister’s residence are justified but the discovery itself hardly comes as a surprise.

“This particular individual  [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.

“He’s cost the state millions of money, including entering into contracts that are more costly than is necessary and hence spending more on a loan secured at taxpayers expense.

“In addition, state institutions have been used to cover up and defend his criminal actions. A presidential commission and parliamentary inquiry both spent huge sums of public money on something that should have been investigated by institutions created specially for this purpose,” stated Chiwa.

The law expert continued to state that despite mounting evidence against Chaponda, the President Peter Mutharika  refuses to dismiss or suspend him.

“We know that the President works at a chameleon’s pace, but even a chameleon knows when to engage the acceleration gear when it matters. We are left wondering: is the President complicit in this criminality? Is the whole ruling party and cabinet involved?

“What is most disturbing is that we are talking about a President whose main campaign platform for the presidency was based on his pedigree as a professor of law who taught at a reputable university in America. How can someone so educated and exposed condone, or be complicit in, such aimless and pointless public plunder?

“How can he govern a poorest country that relies on aid and preside over a government which is excelling less on service delivery than plunder of public resources? Does he have any kernel of decency?”

The graft busting carried out the operation as part of the investigations into the maize procurement deal by Admarc from Zambia.

Chaponda is yet to comment on the suitcase stash bust.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s flagship newspaper,  The Daily Times in its editorial comment on Wednesday commened ACB for its raid and investigations as recommended by the presidential commission of inquiry.

“As ACB has been criticised so many times before, the body must be commended for its investigation yesterday and Malawians are hopeful that this will lead to something,” the editorial reads.

The paper further said it finds President Mutharika’s “indecisiveness” on Chaponda  “quite appaling”.

It said: “Why is Mutharika ready ti soil his legacy for the sake of maintaining Chaponda in cabinet? Chaponda us being rejected by fellow parliamentraina and he cannot execute his role asa cabinet minister in the House, What good is in kepping Chaponda in the cabinet.”

The President has been asked to fire Chaponda “and if he si wishes, reinstate him if a due process of law clears him.”

The cash stashed in suitcases at Chaponda’s residence reminds Malawians of the biggest corruption scandal called ‘Cashgate’ which involved fraudulent government payments for services not rendered and for “ghost pensions” to fictional government retirees.

Corrupt officials pocketed the money, using it to buy smart cars and mansions — or simply stuffed bundles of US dollars and Malawi kwacha in car boots, handbags and pillowcases, hence the “cash” in “Cashgate”.

ACB investigators also searched the houses of Admarc chief executive offiver Foster Mulumbe and his director of operations Feckson Kantonga.

Mulumbe was sent on forced leave by Admarc board of directors to pave the way for investigations.

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7 years ago

lets lead people and don’t lead their resources. do not take with what belongs to another be content with what you have with dignity and integrity. Watch Malawi building strong institutions. We are in a democracy and we will not build strong and powerful leaders, THAT ERA IS OVER we will build strong institutions, we are forging ahead. Bravo Malawians! Bravo Malawians! Bravo the Future!
So hopeful, we will be there so silent ,but alive for our future generations. SWEET MALAWI

Yahya Jammeh
7 years ago

True media will never accept to be silenced through court injunctions. Times Group categorically refused this. Free advice to the rest of ministers and people in positions of influence. Never attempt to wage war against the media, you will not win because the media will always be on your neck until they break it and finish you off completely. Remember. The media does two things in common – either build or destroy. I will rule Gambia for a billion years.

7 years ago

u are a very stupid man Mr Chirwa. u live in luxury in Cape town yakoyo, kenaka uzingopanga commentate. come home and face the heat with us. stop writing ur bullshit in exile. ur a very stupid goat. come here and comment. akusekele uwone. foolish urine

7 years ago


DPP lover
DPP lover
7 years ago

The House Was on fire!!!! Yet Mr Minister you had all this money but failed to buy maize and quickly distribute it to all starving people. But you chose to thwart procurement procedures with government money!!!!!

Its like there is an emergency like a road accident somebody has a car but they would rather break into some else car (or a stationary government car) to take the victims of the accident to the hospital!!!!!!.

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