LILONGWE Malawi (Xinhua) --
East African Malawi’s graft busting
body, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Wednesday arrested
former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda, who was under
investigation for corruption.
allegedly involved in dubious procurement of maize from the
neighboring Zambia, and was recently fired as agriculture
minister by President Peter Mutharika to pave the way for
The maize was
meant to serve Malawi people who were going through a period
of hunger, which had resulted from persistent droughts and
excessive rainfall in some parts of the country.
Egrita Ndala, ACB Senior Public Relations Officer, the bureau
received a complaint last December that procedures had not
been followed during the procurement of the country’s staple
food from Zambia.
The ACB sent its
officers to Zambia in January where they interviewed relevant
people together with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia.
An abrupt fire
razed Chaponda’s office and destroyed all documents on Feb. 14
while investigations were still underway. This aroused public
suspicion that the arson was Chaponda’s desperate attempt to
destroy all the evidence therein.
On Feb. 21, ACB
officers raided the residences of Chaponda where they found
and confiscated 58,000 U.S. dollars and 124 million Malawian
Kwachas of local currency (about 171,100 dollars) in stacks of
cash stashed in suitcases.
Ant-Corruption Bureau investigation established that there
were offences committed in the procurement of the maize from
Zambia,” an official statement on the arrest said.
Chaponda is yet to
be granted court bail. He faces three counts of corruptly
performing public functions, misuse of public office, and
illegal possession of foreign currency. (1 U.S. dollar =
724.70 Malawian Kwachas)
Malawi prisons remain closed
as warders demand pay hike
LILONGWE (Xinhua) --
Prison gates in Malawi have remained closed
since Saturday as warders continue to protest for a hike to
their monthly pay.
The warders are
taking to the streets blocking roads and chanting protest
songs to force the government to pay heed to their concerns.
Apart from the
salary increment, the warders are also demanding that
elevation in rank in Prison department should be on a par with
its sister departments namely, the police and immigration,
with which they all fall under the country’s Ministry of Home
Affairs and Internal Security.
The country’s Home
Affairs Minister, Grace Chiumia has since condemned the
protests saying the government was already looking into the
She accuses the
warders of taking to the streets out of lack of patience.
Chiumia is on
record to have told the country’s local media that “These are
security officers, and security officers are not supposed to
go on strike because security is compromised when they do.”
“What they are
protesting about is an issue of functional review which we are
currently working on; we started with the Immigration officers
and Police officers whom we have promoted a rank up and the
prison officers were next,” she said.
She had, on
Sunday, visited Zomba Maximum Prison, a penitentiary in the
country’s Southern Region, to reason with the protesting
warders and to urge them back to work.
On Monday morning,
however, the warders in the capital, Lilongwe blocked the road
to Maula Prison, the largest reformatory facility in the
central region as they continued to sing protest songs.
“We are not going
back to work until our promotions have been effected and our
salaries have been raised,” stated one of the demonstrating
warders who spoke on condition of anonymity.