Corruption Charges Dismissed Against Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima

Corruption Charges Dismissed Against Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima
Corruption Charges Dismissed Against Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima

The government of Malawi has halted legal proceedings against Vice President Saulos Chilima, with the state prosecutor submitting a withdrawal notice, leading to the dismissal of all corruption charges by a Malawian court.

In November 2022, Chilima faced arrest based on accusations of accepting money in return for steering government contracts to certain firms, allegations he consistently repudiated. The contentious contracts reportedly involved Xaviar Ltd and Malachitte FZE, linked to British businessman Zuneth Sattar, who likewise denied wrongdoing.

The vice president’s multiple court appearances drew public concern over the government’s approach to prosecuting alleged corruption cases. Although Chilima’s trial had not commenced, Judge Redson Kapindu mandated his immediate discharge following the Director of Public Prosecutions’ notice to discontinue the accusations.

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The Director of Public Prosecutions now has a ten-day period to provide a detailed explanation to legislators about the dismissal of charges, as per constitutional rules.

In response to the turn of events, Chilima’s legal counsel, Khumbo Soko, expressed relief. This development also bolsters criticism towards President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration, suggesting challenges in fulfilling their commitment to ending corruption, a cornerstone pledge of President Chakwera’s 2020 campaign.

Despite legislation preventing the president from dismissing the vice president, President Chakwera has axed ministers and officials implicated in corruption scandals. Nevertheless, he had removed official duties from Chilima amid the trial, a suspension which did not endure as Chilima returned to his vice-presidential duties even before the case termination.

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