Three senior Cabinet Ministers are amongst 22 witnesses to be paraded in court in the corruption case of former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda and two others in the case relating to the Zambian maize import transactions.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) disclosed it has lined up 22 to testify as prosecution witnesses.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is also the official government spokesperson, will testify alongside Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe as Henry Mussa the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism are amongst the witnesses who have recorded statements.
In a statement of disclosure which ACB has served the defence lawyers, Finance Minister Gondwe has recorded to testify that he told Chaponda that the importation of maize from Zambia at $450 per tonne was “unprocedural”.
Gondwe also directed that “all the public procurement requirements as stipulated by the Public Procurement Act and the Office of the Director of public Procurement would have to be met.”
On the money which law enforcers found in Chaponda’s bedroom hidden in suitcases, the Finance Minister stated: “I do not know what the money was for and where it came from.”
Dausi and Mussa’s recorded statements also comments on the suitcases of bank notes in different currencies found in Chaponda’s house.
“I wouldn’t know why Dr Chaponda would have money in his house and what it was for,” a statement from Dausi reads in part.
Chaponda and his alleged accomplices—Rashid Tayub, director of Transglobe Produce Export Limited and Grace Mijiga-Mhango, a businessperson and chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA)—were arrested by ACB last month for their alleged roles in the dubious purchase of maize from Zambia.
The former Cabinet minister, who is also vice-president for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) responsible for Southern Region and member of Parliament (MP) Mulanje South West Constituency, was charged with two criminal counts of misusing public office and possession of foreign currency without the lawful justification.
On the other hand, Tayub and Mijiga-Mhango were charged with offences of influencing a public officer to misuse public office and forgery, respectively. All the three pleaded not guilty.
Mzuzu-based political analyst Charles Kajoloweka, who has been one of the vocal citizens against Chaponda in the Zambia maize imports saga, said politically the arrest “becomes an indelible stamp of corruption on the DPP as a party”.
Kajoloweka, who is the executive director of Youth and Society (YAS), saidit is up to the governing party to “redeem itself from this indelible mark of corruption.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :