Court Frees Chaponda On Money Laundering Charge: State Had No Evidence

The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Paul Chiotcha on Wednesday threw out an additional charge of money laundering against former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.

Chaponda faces corruption charges

State lawyers brought to the court an amended charge sheet for Chaponda in which they added an extra charge of money laundering

But Chiotcha dismissed the extra charge for Chaponda after he noted that it lacked sufficient particulars.

“You can bring the charge again if you gather enough evidence, but there is no substance at the moment” ruled the magistrate.

Chaponda is answering three charges out of the four which include giving false information to ACB, influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency while Rashid Tayub, director of Transglobe Produce Limited, is answering to the charge of persuading a public officer to misuse his position. They both pleaded not guilty.

The Court earlier heard an application by lawyer for Tayub, Jai Banda applied for a split case.

Banda argued that Chaponda’s case has more charges and is dragging while Tayub is answering one charge.

The court will make a ruling on the same Thursday afternoon.

 The former Cabinet minister alongside Tayub, a Transglobe Produce Limited director and Grace Mijiga-Mhango, chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA), were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on suspicion of corruption relating to procurement of government maize from Zambia.

Recently, Tayub’s lawyer asked the court to have his matter heard separately but the State opposed to the application.

Chaponda was fired from Cabinet on February 22 2017 following public pressure after the ACB instituted investigations on allegations of his involvement in the K26 billion maize import deal from Zambia, popularly known as maizegate.

He  is currently vice president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Southern Region.

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