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Lazarus Chakwera fires aide over bill

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Sean Kampondeni

President Lazarus Chakwera has terminated the contract of one of his advisers, Martin Thom, on allegations that he was involved in the ‘smuggling’ of Bill during the last meeting of Parliament, State House spokesperson Sean Kampondeni has confirmed.

Recent media reports indicated that the draft piece, No. 22 of 2021: Bank of Baroda (Construction of Residential Houses under the National Housing Project (Various Security Institutions) Loan Authorisation Bill, would allow the government to borrow K93 billion to finance the construction of houses for security agency workers, was included on the Order Paper for deliberations without the approval of relevant offices, with one presidential aide being implicated.

Malawi Police Service (MPS) also confirmed that its agents arrested Ministry of Finance official Nations Msowoya on allegations of abuse of office and making false documents.

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In a press statement issued Tuesday, Kampondeni indicated that Thom was fired after independent investigators found that he was involved in the smuggling of the bill into Parliament.

“I can confirm that after independent investigations that [the] President did on allegations that one of his advisers was involved in the smuggling of money loan bill…,” the contract has been terminated.

He, however, refused to comment on the arrest of the adviser, referring us to MPS.

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MPS national spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed that the two had been arrested.

“Police in Lilongwe arrested Pastor Martin Thom, Presidential Special Assistant, and Nations Msowoya, from the Ministry of Finance, on allegations of abuse of office and making false documents. Kadadzera said.

The two officials were last evening granted bail.

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo told The Daily Times that the government learned about issues surrounding the bill a day before the last meeting.

“I can confirm that the bill came to Parliament on the last day and, because of checks and balances in Parliament, upon realising the anomaly I followed up with all institutions that are custodians of bills like Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance to ask them about the gist of the bill and all the departments refused knowledge of the bill, hence I withdrew the bill,” Chimwendo Banda said.

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