Malawi’s President Stops Delegating Duties To Vice President Over Corruption Scandal
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday announced that he has stopped delegating duties to his Vice-President Saulos Chilima after the latter was named in a $150m (£123m) corruption scandal, reported The BBC.
The president said an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report named 53 current and former officials as having received money from British-Malawian businessman Zuneth Sattar between 2017 and 2021.
The bribe was paid in relation to 16 contracts that the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force awarded to five companies belonging to Mr. Sattar, who is also being investigated on corruption, and money-laundering charges in Britain and Malawi.
The report includes the names of the vice-president, Police Inspector General George Kainja, and his chief of staff, Prince Kapondamgaga. Several serving and former ministers have already been arrested in connection with the investigation.
Notably, Malawi’s law does not allow the president to sack or suspend his vice-president as the latter is an elected official.
“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,” the president said in a national address on Tuesday.
Chakwera also announced the removal of Kainja as well as the suspension of Suzi Banda and Kapondamgaga.
Malawi’s president described the anti-corruption bureau’s report as substandard work due to the absence of some crucial information on the bureau’s next course of action. He said the people of Malawi deserve better on a matter as serious and sensitive as this.
The vice-president has not yet responded to the allegations.
Chilima had backed Chakwera in challenging fraudulent elections in 2019, which led to a court-sanctioned poll in 2020 when Chakwera defeated former leader Peter Mutharika. The pair had promised to fight corruption in government.