The recently fired Inspector General of Police George Kainja has been arrested by the graft busting body in the country, The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) alongside his deputy Mwabi Kaluba on Thursday. Kainja has been nabbed in the capital Lilongwe while Kaluba has been arrested in Mzuzu city.
In a statement signed by ACB’s principal public relations officer Egrita Ndala, Kainja has been arrested for “receiving advantage from Zuneth Sattar, Managing Director of Xaviar Limited on account of influencing a procurement contract reference number MPS/SB/16/04/2021 to supply 350,000 food ration packs worth USD, 875,000 by unlawfully initiating a requisition of the procurement on instruction of Zuneth Sattar.”
According to the statement, Kainja solicited an advantage in form of a vehicle and USD 8,000 from Zuneth Sattar for influencing the award of the contract t supply the food ration packs.”
The Bureau states that Kainja is likely to be charged with two counts of soliciting advantage contrary to section 29(1) as read with with section 34 of the corrupt practices Act.
As for the Deputy Commissioner of Police Mwabi Kalua, the Bureue alleges that he ‘corruptly obtained USD 20,000 from Zuneth Sattar as an advantage for giving assistance in the procurement contract of the food rations packs.’ The Bureua says will also charge him with the same offence as that of his boss Kainja.
The arrests by the ACB comes hot on the heels of a report which President Chakwera instructed the ACB to produce on the corruption dealings of a British citizen of Malawian origin Zuneth Sattar who is alleged to have been committing money laundering in the United Kingdom on moneys coming from Malawi. Here in Malawi, Sattar was corrupting government officials to get contracts where he was inflating figures with the ultimate purpose of siphoning moneys from the country.
Among those implicated is also vice president Saulos Chilima whom the President has stated he will no longer delegate him duties, his office being a delegated office.
This the president disclosed on Tuesday evening when the president was reporting to the nation on the report he ordered ACB to produce. According to Chakwera, the Bureau indicated that 84 public officers benefited from Sattar’s kickbacks.
Out of the 84, 13 public officers, including Chilima, were extensively investigated and the facts are that they got bribes from Sattar to abuse their powers by dubiously awarding contracts to the businessman, said Chakwera.
“The Bureau has found that among the 84 individuals who allegedly received money from Mr. Sattar in 2021, there are 13 that the Bureau says have been extensively investigated to the point of concluding that they conducted themselves corruptly in dealing with the businessman. And 4 of the 13 hold offices over which I have some constitutional powers, namely the Vice President, the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service, the Chief of Staff for State Residences, and the Chairperson of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority,” said Chakwera.
Despite that the graft-busting body did not give details as to what the four officers did, the President said there was still a need to take measures to protect public trust in those offices to which he announced the firing of the Inspector General of Police and others.
“I have therefore decided to do so as follows: The Chief of Staff for State Residences is hereby suspended to pave way for the investigations without his interference; the Chairperson of the PPDA will similarly be excused from his official duties, and I have already instructed the Secretary to the President and Cabinet to do so using the appropriate legal instruments related to statutory bodies; and I have also directed her to work with the relevant service commissions to effect similar measures with respect to the other implicated public servants who do not report to me.
“As for the Vice President, his office is unique in that the Constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President, because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters, which I respect. As such, 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 and to make known its course of action in relation to such,” he said.
Chakwera emphasized that the measures have been taken to end the problem of continuation of official public duties by those accused of wrongdoing by an independent institution like the ACB.
In the meantime, the former Police chief Kainja has been granted bail by Chief Resident Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza in the capital Lilongwe.