Anti-Corruption Bureau is yet to question George Chaponda


Almost two months after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) found over K166 million (in different currencies) at former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda’s house in Lilongwe, the bureau has admitted that it is yet to interrogate him on the source of the hard cash.

ACB officers raided Chaponda’s house on February 21 this year and confiscated computers and other files in connection with the probe into the dubious procurement of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.

Chaponda, a Yale University trained lawyer, is at the centre of a multi-billion kwacha maize procurement scandal after findings by a joint parliamentary committee and another commission instituted by President Peter Mutharika found that his dealings with a local company Transglobe were”in appropriate, suspicious and bordering on corrupt tendencies”.


ACB Senior Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala said in a written response to our questionnaire that this is so because the money was found in the course of another investigation into the maize scandal.

Ndala said the bureau’s investigators would also work on establishing whether the money found is connected to the scam.

“The bureau could not have just interrogated him on the [issue of the] money before it was ready to interview him on the maize issue, which was the reason for the search. The bureau had to first analyse the information in computers and other documents which during the search which it had conducted in various premises,” Ndala said.


However, the ACB spokesperson denied reports that the bureau is treating the former minister with kid gloves and handling the case as a ‘special one’, arguing that officers could not question Chaponda as soon as the search was completed.

Section 25 (1-5) of the Exchange Control Act, which talks about the prohibition of possession of foreign currency, states in part: “Unless in possession with the permission of the minister , a person in possession in Malawi of foreign currency shall offer such foreign currency , or cause it to be offered, for sale to an authorised dealer.

“A person who contravenes sub regulation (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of K10, 000 and to imprisonment for two years.”

In a separate interview, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) spokesperson, Mbane Ngwira, said there were differences between the case of an individual caught in the act of attempting to externalise forex at the airport and that of Chaponda.

“It’s different with a person found trying to externalise forex at the airport. When such a person is caught, [he or she] is arrested on the spot but, with money found at Chaponda’s house, maybe ACB would want to probe more and see if there is an element of money laundering,” Ngwira said.

Mutharika fired Chaponda a day after the unexplained amount of cash was found in his house.

In an earlier interview, ACB Director General Lucas Kondowe said the bureau would work within the confines of the law and would not be bullied to hastily act on Chaponda’s issue.

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