Arrests galore in Malawi as former President Mutharika is probed
August 1, 2020
By James Mwala
There have been key arrests of senior government officials in the Peter Mutharika administration, most of which however hovering on corrupt practices.
The arrests come as the incumbent leader Lazarus Chakwera announced a heft plan to deal with corruption and accused the Mutharika administration of swindling about MK1 Trillion in various dubious deals.
However, the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party has described the accusations as political.
So far, Mutharika’s former aide Norman Chisale has been netted for about four charges, one of which is an attempted murder of a woman in Blantyre while on the high profile is the reported dubious purchase of cement by Mutharika, in which it is believed the bodyguard played the biggest role.
Asian trader Ahmed Chunara was also arrested over same matter, according to police records.
Mutharika has also been reportedly interrogated over the matter. The interrogation came days after he denied any wrong doing as it is alleged.
Mutharika, who is currently at his residence in the lakeshore district of Mangochi has distanced himself from the allegations, his privileges were used to import the said valued at about MK 5 Billion.
In a statement, the 80 year old said during his reign, he has neither bought nor instructed any person to purchase cement on his behalf.
He also says he has never undertaken any construction work that would require such an amount of cement while also stating that he does not trade in any cement deals.
As if this is not enough, the Malawi Revenue Authority has also pounced on Mutharika’s ex-Chief of Staff, Peter Mukhito subsequently impounding his 7 posh vehicles for what is believed as tax evasion.
The latest arrests have sparkled growing debate on whether really Mutharika might have known of the alleged illicit deals by his right hand men or that he was hoodwinked into believing the deals were not of that extent.
Meanwhile, law scholar Professor Danwood Chirwa posting on his Facebook, argues that there is need for law enforcers to trade carefully on such arrests as there would be legal complications.
He was directly reacting to incidents involving Chisale who has had to be re-arrested just minutes after been granted bail over other two counts.
‘’Even the most devious suspect or accused has due process rights must be respected. The police cannot render court orders worthless by endlessly re-arresting suspects or accused persons.
At the moment, Chakwera has warned his leadership will not spare any people who might have been involved in corruption including those that are part of his regime.
The incidents have also come as hearing of the case involving business tycoon Thom Mpinganjira is slated to start.
Mpinganjira, is accused of attempting to bribe judges that heard the historical presidential case, whose ruling was the nullification of the results and the eventual triumph of Chakwera in the fresh poll.
He has since the charges. He heads one of Malawi’s elite banks, the FDH.
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