Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has given the government an ultimatum of two months to arrest George Thapatula Chaponda—the erstwhile Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Leader of the House—or else face peaceful protests in a ‘day of rage’.
MCP acting secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said if Mutharika does not act on Chaponda within two months, the MCP gurus will sit down and make assessments on how best to hold the peaceful protests legally.
“We want Chaponda to be arrested and charged with corruption related offences as recommended by the presidential commission of inquiry on maizegate,” he said.
Mkaka’s comments follow threats by party president Lazarus Chakwera who said he would call for the protests.
He said the party is giving time to Mutharika to do the needful.
“Parliament meets in May therefore we will see what we can do before the meeting of parliament,” he said.
Mutharika fired Chaponda from the cabinet as Agriculture minister after the inquiry found that the powerful minister had suspicious dealings in the procurement of maize from Zambia.
However, Mutharika said recently he cannot order the Anti Corruption Bureau to arrest Chaponda, arguing the graft busting body is independent of any political influence.
Spokesperson for ACB Egritta Ndala said Chaponda would be arrested and charged after a thorough investigation on the matter.
She said investigators are currently looking at evidence before slapping him with any charge.
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 Chaponda’s house where they were stashed in suitcases at the bedroom.
According to Reserve Bank of Malawi, the local banknotes were withdrawn November 2016 with the teller tags showing that K9 million was withdrawn from National Bank of Malawi Capital City Branch, K17 million from FMB at City Centre and K98.5 million was withdrawn from Standard Bank.
A list of the assets Chaponda declared as of February 1 this year shows he has 20 real estate properties in Lilongwe, Blantyre, France, Luchenza, Mangochi, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.
The source of funds for the property, valued at K953 million, included bank loans and his earnings from the UN, United Kingdom, South Africa, France, his children abroad and Chaponda investments.
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