The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday found thousands of dollars and millions of Kwachas stashed inside suitcases hidden in the bedroom of Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, during a search of a home in Lilongwe.
Authorities counting millions of cash found at Chaponda’s house. The cash has been taken to Reserve Bank of Malawi
Between US$58,000 and MK124 million in cash was found after a search of a home, according to authorities.
ACB raided the residences of Chaponda and senior managers of the State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
“The cash that was found at Chaponda’s house was taken to Reserve Bank of Malawi for safety custody,” an investigator said.
Investigators are said to have found more money stashed in various locations of the house.
“We suspect money laundering activities for Minister Chaponda but there’s a presumption of innocence,” said the official.
The cash stashed in suitcases reminds Malawians of the biggest corruption scandal called ‘Cashgate’ scam which involved fraudulent government payments for services not rendered and for “ghost pensions” to fictional government retirees.
Corrupt officials pocketed the money, using it to buy smart cars and mansions — or simply stuffed bundles of US dollars and Malawi kwacha in car boots, handbags and pillowcases, hence the “cash” in “Cashgate”.
During the search at offices of Admarc, the bureau searched and confiscated computers and several files.
The graft busting body carried out the operation as part of the investigations into the maize procurement deal by Admarc from Zambia.
Among others, ACB investigators searched the houses of Admarc chief executive offiver Foster Mulumbe and his director of operations Feckson Kantonga.
Mulumbe is currently on forced leave he was given by Admarc board of directors to pave the way for investigations.