According to the nation’s anti-corruption agency, Saulos Chilima, vice president of Malawi, was detained on suspicion of accepting payment in exchange for awarding government contracts.
According to a statement, he is suspected of receiving “and other stuff” from a British businessman worth $280,000 (£230,000).
In court today, Dr. Chilima entered a not guilty plea to the corruption charges.
When he was first implicated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in June, he had already lost his authority.
According to the report, he and another 83 Malawian officials engaged in corrupt business with Zuneth Sattar, a British businessman.
The first vice-president to be in office while also facing accusations in Malawi is Dr. Chilima, who is currently free on bond and is charged with six offenses.
This morning, he was questioned by anti-corruption officials in offices that security personnel had sealed off. Questions about him had previously been interrupted by his followers.
The Reuters news agency cites video from local media as evidence that his supporters and police engaged in violence when he entered court in Lilongwe, the nation’s capital.
While Dr. Chilima’s supporters claim that the arrest is the result of a political witch hunt, some Malawians view the arrest as a significant step in the battle against corruption.
Born in Malawi, Mr. Sattar was detained in the UK in October of last year and is currently free on bail.
He is charged with exploiting his ties with powerful politicians and top government officials in Malawi to fraudulently get contracts to provide products and services.
The Financial Times reported in May that the contracts covered water cannons, food rations, and armored personnel carriers.
All wrongdoing has been refuted by Mr. Sattar.
As President Lazarus Chakwera’s running mate in 2020, Dr. Chilima assumed power. Despite coming from several political parties, they joined forces to unseat the president Peter Mutharika.
The vice president had previously run for office on a platform against corruption, pledging to put an end to years of graft in government and eradicate poverty in one of the world’s poorest nations.
“Corruption has the ability to rip a nation and its people apart irreparably. A 2021 Anti-Corruption Bureau newsletter quotes the vice president as noting that corruption has the ability to cause a government to lose its legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens.
In the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International last year, Malawi was placed 110th out of 180 nations.