Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

1 July 2014

Malawi: MEC Says There Is Possibility of Arson in Fire Incident At Its Warehouse

Lilongwe — The Malawi Electoral Commission says after analysing the preliminary reports of the fire incident at their Warehouse, there is a possibility of arson.

In a press statement dated 17 July 2014 signed by MEC's Chairman Justice Maxon Mbendela, the Commission met in an emergency session on Wednesday, 16 July in Lilongwe to among other things consider the preliminary reports issued to it concerning the fire that gutted the warehouse in Lilongwe during the night of Tuesday, 15 July.

The statement says after thorough analysis of preliminary report, the Commission is of the view that, arson cannot be ruled out, which has forced it to formally approach the Inspector General of Police to institute appropriate investigations.

In the statement, the Commission emphasized that all security measures were taken at the warehouse with 10 Armed Police Mobile Services (PMS) officers and two Security Guards from SWOOP Security Company per shift and two Monitors from Malawi Congress Party per shift.

However the Press Statement indicates that the Electoral Body has ignorance over the services provided by the National Intelligence Services (NIS) although there was no agreement with MEC.

According to the preliminary reports, the fire started at around 00:25 hours which destroyed all the electoral materials that were in the Warehouse which include 2,400 Ballot Boxes which contained Ballot Papers, 81 Gas Cylinders, 168 Gas Lamps amongst others.

Among the ballot papers that have been destroyed are those for Lilongwe City South East Constituency that were due to be recounted following Court Order.

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