Acting People’s Party (PP) president Uladi Mussa on Monday spent a night in a police cell in Lilongwe after he was arrested on Monday when he handed himself to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly issuing 50 passports dubiously to foreigners but said former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda deserved to have been behind bars after ACB officers seized suitcases stashed with cash – US$58,000 and MK124 million at his house.
Mussa handed himself to the bureau after the graft busting body failed to trace his whereabouts on Thursday.
Just before he surrendered, Mussa described his impending arrest as a witch hunt.
He dismissed the allegations, saying he was just doing his job as Home Affairs minister.
ACB spokesperson Egritta Ndala said Mussa was expected to appear before court on Tuesday and that likely charges are “abuse of office and negligence of duty.”
However, PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola said the arrest was government’s tactic to divert people’s attention from the issue of Chaponda.
“They want people to start talking about the arrest of honourable Mussa. This government is sick, they are thieves,” he retorted.
Matola said People’s Party would not allow the government to twist people’s minds on important issues just for political gain.
“Chaponda was found with huge sums of money between his legs, under pillows, under bed, every where, that is what people should be talking now,” he said.
President Peter Mutharika fired Chaponda in cabinet but since ACB’s search and seizure operation, he has not been picked for interrogation.
The cash stashed in suitcases at Chaponda’s residence reminded Malawians of the biggest corruption scandal called ‘Cashgate’ which involved fraudulent government payments for services not rendered and for “ghost pensions” to fictional government retirees.
Corrupt officials pocketed the money, using it to buy smart cars and mansions — or simply stuffed bundles of US dollars and Malawi kwacha in car boots, handbags and pillowcases, hence the “cash” in “Cashgate”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :