Malawi security minister, Immigration boss risk arrest over deportation of Ethiopian

Malawi’s Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Paul Chibingu and Chief Immigration Officer Hudson Mankhwala risk arrest after it transpired that they controversially authorized the deportation of an Ethiopian national who was answering charges before the country’s court.

Mzuzu Magistrate Court has summoned the two to explain their involvement in the deportation which smacks of corruption by the two top government officials.

The court summons indicates that the two, including three others, face arrest if the court is satisfied that they committed an offence by issuing and executing a deportation order without an accompanying certificate from the court.

Chibingu: Risks arrest
Chibingu: Risks arrest

The Ethiopian national, Basha Adenew, was co-accused alongside two Malawians Fred Chim’bwabwa and Alex Madeya for allegedly aiding and abetting illegal entry of nine Ethiopians who entered Malawi through Songwe border in Karonga in a hearse belonging to Chim’bwabwa.

In his defence, Chim’bwabwa told the Mzuzu court that Adenew hired his vehicle in May to transport relatives to Dzaleka Refugee Camp ostensibly to attend a funeral not knowing that the people were illegal immigrants.

Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate Cuthbert Phiri said Tuesday the deportation of Adenew when the court had issued a warrant of arrest smacked of corruption by the minister, Mankhwala, a regional immigration officer, a police officer who arrested the Ethiopian and the immigration officer tasked with bringing him before court.

Phiri ordered that the four officers should appear before court on August 18 and he would set a date for the minister to appear in court to explain the circumstances leading to Adenew’s deportation.

Court documents indicate that the court issued a warrant of arrest on June 19, 2014, but soon after his arrest on July 21, 2014, Chibingu signed his deportation order on July 26, 2014.

“You are hereby directed to arrest the said Basha Adenew and to produce him before this court in execution of this your warrant and herein fail not,” the arrest warrant reads.

But citing powers conferred on him by Section 39 (1) of the Immigration Act, Chibingu signed the deportation order.

“I am satisfied that it is in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health that you, the said Basha Adenew, be deported from Malawi,” reads the deportation order.

Chibingu gave Adenew 48 hours after being served with the order to leave the country.

If found on the wrong side of the law Chibingu and Mankhwala will be the first to be caught in such corrupt practices since President Peter Mutharika took over the presidency of the country and it would be a test to the new administration on how it will handle such issues involving its own men

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