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Malawi president strips deputy of powers over graft

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has stripped his Vice-President Saulos Chilima of all his delegated powers after the latter was named in a $150m (£123m) corruption scandal involving government contracts.

The vice-president has not yet responded to the allegations.

A report by the country’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) named 53 current and former officials as having received money from British-Malawian businessman Zuneth Sattar between 2017 and 2021, the president said.

This is in relation to 16 contracts that the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force awarded to five companies belonging to Mr Sattar.

The officials named in the report include the vice-president and the head of police – who has been sacked.

But Malawi’s law does not allow the president to sack or suspend his vice-president as the latter is an elected official.

“The best I can do for now, which is what I have decided to do, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the bureau to substantiate its allegations against him,” the president said in a national address on Tuesday.

Mr Chakwera joined forces with Mr Chilima to defeat incumbent Peter Mutharika in 2020 presidential elections. The pair had promised to fight corruption in government.

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