MALAWIAN President Prof Arthur Mutharika has fired his agricultural minister Dr George Chaponda following a very controversial maizegate scandal.
According to a statement issued by Prof Mutharika’s press secretary today, Prof Mutharika will himself take up the agricultural ministry’s responsibilities in the meantime.
“This is to inform the public that using powers vested in him by the Constitution, His Excellency the President, Prof Authur Peter Mutharika has decided to relieve Dr George Chaponda; MP of his responsibilities as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development with immediate effect,” stated Kalilani.
“With this development, all matters requiring the attention of the Minister of Agriculture should be referred to the President.”
According to Malawi’s Nyasa Times, The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday found about US$58,000 and MK124 million in cash stashed inside suitcases hidden in Chaponda’s bedroom during a search of a home in Lilongwe.
On February 15, the Malawian Joint Committee of Parliament tasked to probe the Maize scandal tabled its report in the National Assembly, stating that Zambia’s aqgriculture minister Dora Siliya flouted legal procedures when she instructed her permanent secretary Julius Shawa to issue a maize export permit of 50,000 metric tonnes to Transglobe Export Produce Ltd when the firm did not legally qualify.
The Committee stated that Transglobe did not qualify for an export permit because it was not a registered tax payer in Zambia.
The Committee further found that Transglobe wrongly and fraudulently involved Dr Chaponda to get it business so that it could supply up to 50, 000 metric tonnes to Malawi.
The Committee recommended that Prof Mutharika should publicly censures Dr Chaponda for his wrongful and illegal involvement in the procurement of the maize from Zambia so as to benefit Transglobe.