Chakwera strips VP of duties, fires police chief over graft scandal

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi)

President Lazarus Chakwera has fired Malawi’s police chief but spared Vice President Saulos Chilima after both men were implicated in a high-profile corruption probe that has also sucked in more than 50 other public officials.

Chakwera ordered Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) early this month to probe allegations that several senior government officials were involved in a money laundering and bribery scandal involving British businessman Zuneth Sattar. 

Chilima was the highest-ranking government official fingered in a high-profile United Kingdom court case in which Sattar is alleged to have splashed millions of dollars to influence procurement decisions in some Malawian ministries and agencies. 

In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, Chakwera said he had decided to dismiss Malawi Police Service inspector-general George Kainja based on evidence provided by the ACB in a report that contained audio recordings of the police chief discussing procurement deals and kickbacks with Sattar.

“The description of how the IG seems compromised is clear in the report, and so I have decided to remove him from office on that basis,” Chakwera said. 

He, however, said the ACB report was silent on concrete evidence linking Chilima to the corruption allegations but decided to strip the vice president of duties.

“As for the Vice President, his office is unique in that the Constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters, which I respect,” Chakwera said. 

He added: “As such, the best I can do for now, which is what I have decided to do, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the bureau to substantiate its allegations against him and to make known its course of action in relation to such.”

The Malawian leader also suspended the Chief of Staff for State Residences, Prince Kapondamgaga and Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority board chairperson John Banda who were fingered in the corruption scandal.


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