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George Chaponda spends night at police

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Thousands of Malawians Wednesday expressed their anger and disgust against corruption when they stoned a car carrying Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the South and former minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, as he was being whisked away from Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) offices to Blantyre Police Station where he spent a night on the cold floor.

In Lilongwe, the ACB also arrested Chairperson of Grain Traders Association of Malawi, Grace Mijiga Mhango, who is suspected to have been a link between Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) and Zambian grain traders.

Chaponda, a lawyer by training, was grilled for nine straight hours from 8:35am to 5:30pm.

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He came in his red Ford Ranger twin cab, MJ 7541. He was smartly dressed in a dark blue two-piece suit, sporting a red pocket square. By the time he emerged from the grilling, Chaponda had removed his maroon necktie.

Guards at the ACB office switched off lights at the reception area to enable him to dodge zooming lens of curious photojournalists and cameramen.

He was then led to the basement before proceeding to an underground parking. He was bundled into a new white Toyota Hilux twin cab belonging to the ACB.

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Sitting in the car, Chaponda shielded his face using his hand to avoid cameramen and people who wanted to take his picture using their cellphones. The car whizzed past the crowd, branching off towards Blantyre Market and proceeding to Top Mandala.

The crowd that waited for him outside the ACB offices pelted his car with stones, demanding that the ACB hands him over to them for instant justice

“Atsike ameneyo! Anaba chimanga chathu. Anthu amagona ndi njala! [Let him alight from the car. He stole our maize. People slept on empty stomach],” they chorused as they stoned the car.

According to the Malawi Constitution, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

He beat journalists at their own game as they pursued him to the High Court at Chichiri, only to realise that he was taken to Blantyre Police Station at Wenela where he was locked up alongside Director of Transglobe Produce Export, Rashid Tayub.

ACB Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, confirmed in an interview, last evening, that Chaponda and Tayub would spend a night at the police station.

“We have kept them there [Blantyre Police Station]. They will spend a night there. They can apply for bail tomorrow,” Matemba said.

According to a statement from the ACB released yesterday morning, Chaponda is likely to be charged with corruptly performing public functions, misuse of public office and possession of foreign currency contrary to Section 25A (1), 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Regulation 25A (1) of the Exchange Control Regulations as read with Section 3 of the Exchange Control Act, respectively.

While Tayub is likely to be charged with influencing a public officer to misuse his public office contrary to Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act. Mhango is likely to be charged with forgery contrary to Section 351of the Penal Code.

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