Shielding of ‘maize-gater’ Chaponda has eroded anti-corruption gains –Evangelical Association of Malawi

The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) – an umbrella mother body of 122 Church denominations and Christian organizations- has said Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)’s kid gloves handling of the maize scam corruption which implicated fired Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has eroded the few gains registered in the fight against corruption over the recent years.

Rev Kawalala: Chaponda a scared cow?

Chaponda: EAM observes that he is being shielded from prosecution

In a statement released in Lilongwe through its social governance arm called the Ethics, Peace, and Justice Commission (EPJC) and shared with Nyasa Times, EAM feels the way the issue of Chaponda has been handled by the President and the graft fighting body have to a greater extent contributed to eroding the few gains so far registered in the fight against corruption.

“We observe that Malawi’s President Mutharika’s handling of the maize scam saga where he was apparently seen untiringly shielding maize scam implicated Hon. George Chaponda has to a greater extent eroded some of the few gains registered in the fight against corruption, and in the process resurrecting the popular view that there is no political will to fight corruption in Malawi,” reads the statement co-signed by EPJC National Chairperson Rev. Dr. Zacc Kawalala and EPJC National Secretary Makhumbo Munthali.

The religious grouping pointed out that despite the conventional wisdom for the President to fire Chaponda pending conclusion of the investigations coupled by a High Court order in indirectly compelling him to act, President Mutharika remained steadfast in publicly defending Chaponda’s involvement in the maize scam.

“Mutharika’s failure to act coupled by Chaponda’s, a senior and powerful official in the ruling party and cabinet, failure to resign and comply with the Court’s order sent the signal that there were sacred cows that were immune to investigations and above the law in as far as the fight against corruption is concerned,” reads part of the statement.

The statement adds that even when circumstances [the discovery of foreign currencies in Chaponda’s house by ACB officials] forced the President to finally relieve Chaponda of his duties as a minister, it was apparent that the decision was made with reservations.

“Contrary, to the practice where once a cabinet Minister has been fired by the President his or her replacement is immediately announced in the same statement or press release Chaponda’s case was different. It was clear that the President was not going to fill the vacuum just to shield Chaponda’s further but was forced to appoint a deputy minister as a compromise after receiving enormous pressure from CSOs to replace Chaponda.

“While a key Ministry of Agriculture now has a deputy Minister and the President keeping the full Minister of Agriculture to himself, the failure for the President to appoint a separate full time agriculture Minister raises suspicion that the President might be playing games with the public by reserving the position or reserving a space in Cabinet for Chaponda. All this coupled by the failure of ACB to swiftly act on Chaponda may in the short or long term give credence to this suspicion, and in the process eroding the people trust in the current regime’s fight against corruption.” reads part of the statement.

According to EAM, the failure for ACB to arrest Chaponda after finding huge sums of foreign currencies in his house during their “raid” has not helped matters either but rather reinforce the existing assertion that ACB is “executive driven”.

“We note that ACB as mandated by the Corrupt Practices Act to perform the functions of corruption prevention and law enforcement has failed to meet its strategic goal – as enshrined in ACB 2012-2017 Strategic Plan- of increased public confidence in the body’s fight against corruption as there is still growing public perception that ACB is compromised and exists to serve the interests of those in the ruling elite. This is grounded partly in illustrations of precedence where some ACB directors were fired due to alleged failure to bow down to executive political orders,’” reads the statement signed.

However, responding to the question of the independence of ACB and the failure to arrest Chaponda,  ACB Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba told the delegates at the National anti-corruption conference held recently at Bingu Conference that officer  from the bureau failed to arrest Chaponda because of the immunity he was enjoying while Parliament is in session and added that when they were ready to arrest him after Parliamentary sitting ACB had no resources to effect such a decision.

But renowned socio-economic commentator and ECAMA President Henry Kachaje while holding the floor during the conference questioned the rationale of ACB deputy director’s statement that ACB had no resources to arrest Chaponda at the second attempt wondering where such resources had gone to considering the fact that they were initially allocated to execute such purpose.

Reacting to the question posed by Makhumbo Munthali of EAM during the conference as to whether ACB was independent or not the ACB director Lukas Kondowe cleverly avoided the issue by stating that ACB was operationally independent.

“I don’t know what you mean by independence. But as far as we are concerned financially we are not independent as we depend from government. Operationally we are independent because we are able to carry out our activities,” said Kondowe.

But notwithstanding the highlighted weaknesses against ACB, EAM has applauded ACB for such discovery of large sums of foreign currency at Chaponda’s house describing the move as historic.

Meanwhile, EAM has applauded the Civil Society organisations, the media, PAC, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the inquiry to the maize scam, and President Mutharika’s initiated Commission of Inquiry for the remarkable role they played in ensuring that sanity prevailed in the maize scam saga.

“We applaud the efforts by Civil Society organisations and the media in the fight against corruption. In particular, the bold steps demonstrated by some Civil Society Organisations led by Youth and Society Charles Kajoloweka earlier this year to obtain a Court injunction restraining the-then Minister of Agriculture Hon. George Chaponda from performing his duties until he was cleared in the infamous corruption related maize scam must be encouraged and commended.

“ The unwavering efforts by Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in demanding government to act on corruption related recommendations coming from their all-inclusive stakeholders meetings cannot go without mention. All these are positive developments we can build on as a country in addressing corruption,” reads the statement

The body also commend the role played by Parliament through its joint parliamentary committee on inquiry to the maize scam for providing the much needed oversight role of the executive arm of government to check on excess of abuse of power.

“The role played by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on inquiry to the maize scam and that of President Mutharika’s instituted Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Anastasia Msosa will go into the history of Malawi as some landmark developments in the fight against corruption.”

EAM’s statement comes at a time when Malawi is reviewing its fight against corruption a process that culminated to a national anti-corruption conference held at Bingu International Conference.

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19 thoughts on “Shielding of ‘maize-gater’ Chaponda has eroded anti-corruption gains –Evangelical Association of Malawi”

  1. zaha says:

    kodi nanga ena akawagwila ndi ndalama zakunja pabwalo la ndege amawamanga bwanji nthawi yomweyo how special with chaponda.

  2. zaha says:

    kodi nanga ena akawagwila ndi ndalama zakunja pabwalo la ndege amawamanga bwanji nthawi yomweyo how special with chaponda.

  3. Alinafe Phiri says:

    Anthu oyikonda Malawi ndiye akulakhula chilungamo koma poti akuti sangave za wina aliyense dzikoli silingasithe chifukwa chilungamo chiona khope

  4. Mcfield says:

    Religious leaders I think this is your time to reveal the truth otherwise these politicians
    will take this country as there’s forgetting that it’s Gods creation.

  5. Amoz says:

    Atumiki aMulungu sachita mantha ponena chilungamo pitilizani ntchito yabwino. Amen

  6. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    hahahahaha so you mean Chaponda is privately working as Minister of Agriculture right? So Malawians we are really sleeping!

  7. Tangwena says:

    EAM please pray kosalekeza so that God must use his weapons to deal with these harsh people. Some of his weapons are…………

  8. john says:

    Selective justice at its best.

  9. Likongwe Ligomeka says:

    We know that all the huge sums of money that the ACB confiscated from the Bull Dozer’s house was given back to him. Selective justice at its best, bambo.

  10. Angie Wa Ben says:

    Tiyeni ndale tizisiyire anthu omwe amadyako.The more you push for ‘bulldozer’s arrest the more i see him becoming president one day.By the way did you know that his son will soon become a millionaire in Britain?

    1. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

      We don’t mind about his son becoming a millionaire in UK. all we are saying is that Chaponda is a hardcore thief and MUST be arrested with immediate effect. By the way why is the president shielding this criminal. May he was also benefiting from the money he stole from poor Malawians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Magede si Wandale says:

    Govt doesn’t arrest a person because you feel he is going to be president and ruin your chances or because ‘Paid media’ has said so.Peter Mutharika knows the truth and that is setting him and Chaponda free.Do you think sakudziwa kuti kukubwera mavoti and mpofunika kuti asangalatse anthu? Koma he can’t do that because he knows kuti inuyo omwe si a DPP ndiomwe mumafuna chaponda achoke to weaken the party.

  12. black says:

    Chaponda sangamangidwe chifukwa sanapeze olakwa.Poyamba timanva kuti he is being groomed for president and kenako chaponda waba? Kenako MBC gives Chilima blackout.kenako fake VP resignation letter. can’t you see kuti ndinkhondo izi ndi za ku DPP kwaoko? People burnt Chaponda’s office to force APM to fire him.Olo mwana can add 1 plus 1

  13. Tamzy says:

    No one is shielding anyone! Why should Chaponda be arrested? For being in possession of money? Does the constitution restrict having money? Both the Commission of inquiry and parliamentary committee said chaponda should be investigated by ACB.It was another way of saying “they did not find anything tangible”.At first we all said Chaponda should resign to pave way for investigation and now its almost two months after he was fired and we are hearing nothing from ACB? The President of malawi cannot act on rumours.Not everyone is a fool in this country.

    1. Point of order says:

      So much as you are entitled to your opinion, but know that we have money laundering laws. You cannot keep billions in cash in your house even if it is yours. Remember those people who were being found with stashes of money in 2013/14 were being arrested for the same. Now, why not him this time around??

    2. Imbwa says:

      Chaponda is a thief period. Anyone defending him is also definitely a thief, probably belonging to DPP, a party founded on theft and zikwanje. Fwetseke mumaona ngati zakubazo mudzanka nazo kumanda. Mnzanu ndi uja anafa ndi cardiac arrest nkuzisiya zakubazo. Muzitha choncho makape inu mulandire Yesu

  14. Mr C says:

    Its only a few ,(some in the DPP executive) who are still threaten by Chaponda (even after he is no longer a member of the cabinet) trying so hard to turnish his image because they thought he was DPP’s 2019 Presidential candidate.The President knows what is going on and thats why he cannot be arrested! I’m sorry you have wasted your time.Leave chaponda and DPP Alone!

  15. ndatopa says:

    Ndikuona kuti ndibwino awalole a Malawi amene alindichimanga chawo cha last year akugulitse kumaiko ena kumene angapeze Phindu powapasa nthawi kutichimamga chawo chisaonongeke ndina nkavumbwe. CHONDE musawakhomerere. Munawakhomelera kale posawagula chimanga chawo. Inu Boma achina Chaponda mumakagulabwanji ku Zambia Chimanga Pamene amalawi ambiri simuwapatse mpata wowagula chimanga chawo. Please give them chance to sell their Chimagachawo apeze cholowa kuti athandizikire pama banja pawo. Akugilitse basi chonse cha last year kulekeza September, 2017. From September its when you can now ban them to sell OK.

  16. Omex70 says:

    Evangelical Association of Malawi has said nothing but the truth. Thank you for that strong stand. You have spoken on behalf of many Malawians.

Comments are closed.