Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau has arrested the country’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima over graft allegations, it said on Friday.
Chilima would be taken to court where he was expected to be charged with three counts of corrupt practices by a public officer, among other charges, the corruption watchdog said in a statement.
Chilima’s lawyers could not be reached by Reuters for comment.
Footage from local media showed supporters of Chilima and the police seemingly in a scuffle as he was being taken into court for the formal reading of charges.
The statement alleged Chilima was rewarded for assisting Xaviar Limited and Malachitte FZE, two companies connected to British businessman Zuneth Sattar to be awarded contracts by the Malawi Government.
The watchdog has been investigating Sattar and other public officers in Malawi over alleged plundering of state resources by influencing awarding of contracts through the country’s public procurement system, it said.
“On 25th November, 2022, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima… on allegation that between March 2021 and October 2021, he received advantage in form of money amounting to USD 280,000 and other items from Zuneth Sattar as a reward…” the bureau said.
In August, the Financial Times reported that Sattar was under investigation by Britain’s National Crime Agency over alleged abuse of Malawi’s public procurement system. He had not been charged with any offence and denied wrongdoing, the FT said.
Reuters could not immediately reach Sattar for comment.
Earlier this year, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera dissolved his entire cabinet on charges of corruption against three serving ministers. Chakwera pledged to clamp down on corruption during his inauguration in July 2020.