19 June 2017

Malawi: Chaponda Denies Kidnapping Allegations - Kamlepo Sticks to His Story

Photo: Nyasa Times
Embattled Agriculture minister George Chaponda.

Former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has denied "politically-motivated claims" that he ordered a kidnap Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP) Kamlepo Kalua.

Earlier this month Kalua, an outspoken critic of the government who is also People's Party (PP) third vice-president, alleged that Chaponda was the master-mind of his abduction.

Kalua told Parliament on June 8 2017 that he believes he was the target of abduction because of his open criticism of the government in relation to issues of corruption, Cashgate and claims that he will reveal names of seven Cabinet ministers alleged to be involved in corruption.

He alleged that Chaponda, who both the presidential and parliamentary inquiry cleared of suspected corruption but recommended a probe over his dealings with Transglobe, said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration used "DPP cadets at Malawi Revenue Authority [MRA]" to frame his family in a tax evasion case.

At the time Kalua made the claims of the former minister's role in abduction, Chaponda was not in the chamber.

However, Chaoponda, who is also governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president (Southern Region), commented on the claims during a political rally at Chonde in his Mulanje South West constituency.

"The story of Kamlepo did not make sense at all," said Chaponda.

"I can assure you that I never laid a finger on Kamlepo let alone order any kidnapping," Chaponda said.

Chaponda said the story of Kamlepo was "made up" when the police declared he staged his abduction which made him to claim he had lost memory to shield himself.

In parliament Kalua claimed Chaponda used his son-in-law Dick Shumba to spy at the Kalua son's house where they went under the pretext of inquiring about motor vehicles.

Chaponda said the allegations were baseless.

"Nobody should put up with the kind of venom that my entire family is being subjected to over the recent times," said Chaponda.

But in an interview, Kalua said he sticks to his story.

He said he believes he was the target of abduction because of his open criticism of the government in relation to issues of corruption, Cashgate and claims that he will reveal names of seven Cabinet ministers alleged to be involved in corruption.

Said Kalua: "I have been a victim of the fight against corruption, Cashgate and the Maizegate. The President keeps on pestering me on seven names [of Cabinet ministers] when he is failing to deal with one name that the whole country knows has cases to answer... "

Kalua said it was only God who saved him from his abductors he suspected wanted to take away his life.

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