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DPP official, chief accused of swindling money

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DEMOCRATIC Progressive Party (DPP) District Secretary for Namwera, Juma Lifa, is being accused by communities of confiscating development funds amounting to K168, 000, meant for buying iron sheets for one of the schools in the area.

Group Village Headman Chiponde and Village Development Committee Chairperson only identified as a Mr Andwatch are among the people who are allegedly involved in the racket that has led to dissolution of all local development structures in the area.

According to Village Headman Mtalika who is leading the aggrieved communities, the DPP official is said to have used his power to get the money which the communities realised from sales of bricks which they moulded.

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“We moulded bricks which we sold to a building contractor. As a community, we agreed that the K168, 000 which we realised from the sales should be used to buy iron sheets for a primary school. But we were surprised when we heard that our ADC chairperson and GVH Chiponde surrendered the money to the DPP Secretary Mr Juma [Lifa],” Mtalika said.

Following this development, Mtalika said that the communities went to Chiponde Police to report the theft but the law enforcers did not help them.

“GVH Chiponde and the ADC chairperson threatened to beat us in front of the police but they failed because people were there to support what we are doing. We are interested in seeing the money recovered. At the moment, the ADC and our VDCs have been dissolved because people are not happy with the development,” Mtalika said.

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But the DPP District Secretary denied swindling the money from the committee, saying it was GVH Chiponde who took the money from the people.

“Chiponde is the one who took the money. At the moment, the chief has only refunded K50,000 and I am waiting for him to settle the balance,” Lifa said.

But another Village Headman, Mlambalala, said that Juma should not deny being involved in the racket, saying the chiefs have been meeting him to ask for refund of the money to no avail

In an interview, DPP Administrative Secretary, Francis Mphepo, said his party will have to establish if Juma indeed holds the said position in the party before taking action on him. However, DPP Eastern Region Governor, Julius Paipi, confirmed that Juma is the District Secertary for Namwera.

When contacted, Andwatch only said he could not comment on the matter because it was the DPP Secretary and GVH Chiponde who took the money and not him.

Member of Parliament for the area, Rashid Pemba, confirmed knowledge of the issue. However, Pemba said he has scheduled a meeting with Senior Chief Jalasi to establish means of recovering the money from whoever is involved.

Mangochi Police spokesperson, Roderick Maida, said the law enforcers are not aware of the issue although it was put to him that the people reported the issue to Chiponde Police Unit.

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