Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has been charged with several counts of corruption and taking bribes to influence government contracts, the Anti-Corruption Bureau said.
Malawi's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has arrested and charged the country's Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima over graft allegations, following months of investigation over his conduct.
The ACB said in a statement on Friday that between March 2021 and October 2021, Chilima received $280,000 and other unnamed items from UK-based Malawi-born businessman Zuneth Sattar.
The ACB alleges that the money and items were a reward for Chilima for assisting Xaviar Limited and Malachitte FZE — companies connected to Sattar — in awarding government contracts.
“Chilima has been taken to court where he is (facing) three counts of corrupt practices by a public officer and two counts of receiving advantage for using influence in regard to contracts,” Egrita Ndala, ACB’s principal public relations officer, said in a statement to Anadolu Agency.
Ndala said Chilima faces another charge of failing to make a full report to a police officer or an officer of the bureau that an advantage was corruptly given to him.
Thousands of Chilima’s supporters gathered at ACB offices demanding the release of the UTM Party leader, who is also a key alliance partner with President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration.
Continuing Sattar investigations
Chakwera and Chilima were elected president and vice president in a 2020 court-sanctioned presidential election.
But in June, Chakwera stripped Chilima of all delegated powers after he was named in a $150 million procurement corruption scandal.
Chakwera also sacked Inspector General of Police George Kainja because of the scandal.
The ACB is investigating Sattar for corruption, fraud and money laundering related to 16 contracts.
According to the ACB’s reports, Chilima and 52 current and former officials allegedly received money from Sattar between 2017 and 2021.
The ACB’s probe found that among the 84 individuals who allegedly received money from Sattar, 13 “conducted themselves corruptly in dealing with the businessman.”
Sattar moved to the UK in 2014 and is now a British citizen.
He is the director of 11 UK-based companies, including Xavier Investments, a property investment firm and Malachitte FZE, a military equipment supplier.