By Staff Reporter
It has been a long time coming that today had to be the day. The warning signs have always been there. President Lazarus has been on record that he will not shield anyone involved in corruption.
Acting on a report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on which businessman Zunneth Sattar is alleged to have bribed his was to land multibillion contracts from different government entities including the Malawi Defense Force (MDF), President Lazarus Chakwera has withheld delegated powers from his Vice President Saulos Chilima.
Addressing the anxious nation on Tuesday evening on the report following the expiry of 21 days he directed the ACB to furnish him with a report on the issue, President Chakwera said the report reveals that the Vice President is among the 13 who conducted themselves corruptly with Sattar on the issue.
“The report states that the Bureau has concluded that he is among the 13 who conducted themselves corruptly with Mr. Sattar,” said President Chakwera.
However, President Chakwera said because of the limited powers he has on the removal or suspension of the Vice President he could not relieve the Vice President from his duties, instead he could only hold back his delegated responsibilities to pave way for further investigation on the matter.
“His office is unique in that the constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President, because he holds the 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 office and 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,” said President Chakwera.
The President has also fired Police Chief George Kaijnja and suspended his Chief of Staff Prince Kapondamgaga. The President, however, mentioned that while the report is clear on the Police Inspector General, it was not clear on how the Chief of Staff and another officer the Director of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (DPPDA) were involved in the corrupt practices.
Since he came to power President Chakwera has been a leading figure in the fight against corruption. His action today follows another one which he took in the past by removing three cabinet Ministers from his cabinet for allegedly being involved in different corruption scandals