Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera fired his head of police and said he won’t delegate duties to Vice President Saulos Chilima after they were named in a corruption probe.
Local media say Chakwera acted after receiving a report from Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director-General Martha Chizuma following investigations on reports that some top officials in his government are involved in Zuneth Sattar’s corruption scandal.
The duo was among more than 50 public officials to be linked to Zuneth Sattar, a Malawian now based in the UK who is alleged to have paid bribes to win state contracts worth more than $150 million, Chakwera said in an address to the nation Tuesday. He said:
According to Malawi’s constitution, Chakwera cannot suspend or remove his deputy Chilima because he is an elected official. He said:
The best I can do for now… is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the bureau to substantiate its allegations against him.
In a national address, Chakwera also fired the country’s top police officer George Kainja, who was caught on tape discussing deals and kickbacks with Sattar.
The Malawian leader also suspended his chief of staff and the chairman of the country’s procurement directorate, who are also mentioned in the ACB report.
He also said another 31 individuals “from the private sector, the media, civil society, and the legal fraternity” also received money from Sattar.
Chakwera added that the graft-busting body found that Malawi’s police and army awarded 16 contracts worth more than $150 million to five companies belonging to Sattar between 2017 and 2021.