Opposition wants an explanation if indeed President Peter Mutharika approved Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, who is currently on forced leave of office following an injunction granted by the High Court restraining him from performing official duties, to travel to Germany on official duties.
Chaponda sneaked out to Germany on Thursday and German Ambassador Jurgen Borsch confirmed that Chaponda had had a long-standing invitation from the German Government through the German Minister of Agriculture in December last year for a conference in Germany.
The trip could be in direct contravention of the High Court order granted by Justice John Chirwa restraining him from carrying out his duties until findings of a commission of inquiry into the controversial purchase of maize from Zambia are concluded.
Leader of opposition Lazarous Chakwera has said they would want to establish if indeed President Mutharika approved Chakwera to disregard the court order.
“If certain people are not answerable to the law, then the whole issue of accountability is brought into question. No one is above the law and as leaders we should not encourage impunity as well as lawlessness,” said Chakwera.
Principal Secretary for Agriculture Erica Maganga confirmed Chaponda’s trip to Germany at Parliament Building in Lilongwe.
She admitted to have approved and facilitated the trip but said Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) were better placed to comment on the approval to travel.
Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Khumbo Soko said if proved that Chaponda is on official duties, then the minister is guilty of contempt of court.