Malawi: Minister, politician and presidential aide arrested over fuel contracts fraud.

By Joseph Dumbula

In less than two weeks, two presidential aides have been arrested in different situations.

On Monday, the Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested presidential advisor Chris Chaima Banda, Energy Minister Newton Kambala and leader of a political party called Alliance for Democracy (Aford) AFORD Enoch Chihana and over alleged interference in fuel supply contracts.

The arrest of the three came after reports claimed they allegedly attempted to influence state-owned National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) deputy chief executive officer Hellen Buluma to select companies favored by them.

They have however not been formally charged until now as the ACB is still interviewing them on the matter.

Earlier this year, the ACB, suspended the fuel supply contracts by Nocma to pave the way for investigations into various alleged anomalies in the process.

This was after two parastatals, the Malawi Energy Regulation Authority (Mera) and management of Nocma did not successfully agree on the awarding of the fuel supply contracts.

Chaima’s arrest comes week after Martin Thom, a close aide to the president was also arrested for allegedly smuggling into parliament a loan authorization bill without due processes and stages.

Analyst Victor Chipofya told a local radio that this signaled disparities within the hierarchy and called the president to soul search on his close allies.

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