Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda has been fired by President Peter Mutharika, the first top government figure to be pushed out to pave way for smooth investigations towards the suspicious maize purchase from Zambia, State House has confirmed.
Several quarters including the Malawi Law Society, Opposition Members of Parliament and the Civil Society community have been asking President Mutharika to fire Chaponda for his involvement and implication in the controversial maize deal.
Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera said the President “needs to to the needful” to have Chaponda sacked.
And on Wednesday President Mutharika cracked the whip and fired his trusted minister.
Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani confirmed to Nyasa Times in a statement.
“This is to inform the public that using powers vested in him by the Constitution, His Excellency the President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has decided to relieve Dr. George Chaponda; M.P of his responsibilities as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development with immediate effect.
“ With this development, all matters requiring the attention of the Minister of Agriculture should be referred to the President,” Kalilani said.
The sack comes after the Ati Corruption Bureau (ACB) raided Chaponda’s residence in Lilongwe where they conducted a search and seizure exercise.
During the exercise ACB seized cash between US$58,000 and MK127 million which was found stashed in suitcases.ACB deputy director general Mr Reyneck Matemba confirmed the amounts.
Blantyre-based private practice lawyer Jai Banda who is an expert in financial crimes and money laundering said there is no law that stipulates the maximum aount of money a person can keep on him.
But Banda said ACB can use the Corrupt Practices Act to prosecute Chapona if he fails to explain how he got the money.
Banda also said there is no crime in keeping foreign currency but it should be proved that Chaponda obtained it from a legal dealer.
ACB director general Lucas Kondowe said he could not discuss the operation in the media because the bureau “is a constitutional body” thar operates independently.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :