Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday relieved his Vice President Saulos Chilima of all delegated powers after the latter was named in a massive corruption scandal in government contracts already implicating several senior officials.
“I have decided to withdraw all delegated functions” from Vice President Saulos Chilima, Lazarus Chakwera said in a televised address.
The announcement follows a new report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is investigating British-Malawian businessman Zuneth Sattar on suspicion of corruption, fraud, and money laundering.
Several ministers and former ministers have already been arrested in connection with the case.
“The office found that a total of 53 public officials and former public officials allegedly received money from Mr. Sattar in the eight months between March and October 2021,” Chakwera said.
The Malawian president also suspended his chief of staff and the country’s police chief.
“In addition, the Bureau found that 31 other people from the private sector, the media, civil society, and the legal profession also received money from Mr. Sattar,” bringing the total to 84 people suspected of being involved, he added.
The police and military reportedly awarded 16 contracts worth $150 million to five companies owned by Mr Sattar between 2017 and 2021.
In 2020, Saulos Chilima, a presidential candidate, had teamed up with Lazarus Chakwera to win the re-run election following fraud in the first poll in 2019.