…UTM officials spend days in a cooler
…Minister, ex-senior official linked
……defrauded K50 million in fake tender
…Uniforms caught at KIA
President Lazarus Chakwera opened a pandora box after revealing that Police uniforms, not ordered by the law enforcers were intercepted at Kamuzu International Airport last week.
Two officials from main Tonse Alliance partner UTM have spent days in Police cells over the same, The Investigator Magazine can reveal.
UTM members George Saenda and Arthur Bito have spent days at Maula Prison after being picked by Malawi Police Services over a consignment of uniforms that arrived at the airport a week ago. Others who have been arrested includes a former UTM media team member who dumped the party for MCP.
The scandal involves many people and issues including a fake procurement tender, alleged involvement of a cabinet minister and it is expected to turn dirty as MCP and UTM officials battle to control the narrative.
UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala said the party empathises with its arrested members and that its members have been visiting them. Activist Bon Kalindo is reportedly to have been the only one to have visited the two officials early this week.
At stake is importation of K4.6 billion Police uniforms one Malawian of Asian origin is said to have imported after allegedly paying K50 million to a woman who is said to have been introduced to Saenda by a cabinet minister.
Initial information indicate that the woman paid K6 million to get the fake documents that were being purported to have come from the MPS to supply uniforms.
“It is a like movie. The allegations are that after they pocketed the funds, the woman sold the tender to a Malawian of Asian origin who is alleged to have paid K50 million. The suspects continued to pose as senior officials from Area 30 until uniforms arrived at KIA. MRA asked for customs clearance and when the supplier called Area 30, he was shocked to be told that he had not won any tender at all,” said our source.
Police are said to have earlier detained a student from DMI University in Mangochi after his phone was used by one of the arrested officials who posed as officers from Area 30 to the would-be supplier. The student told the Police, the official had come with another media team member. The Investigator has withheld the identities of all the young people involved in the matter.
A trace of the call to the DMI student led to the names. One of suspects is married to a Police officer.
Another source said one of the UTM officials is close to a serving cabinet minister who had introduced the woman to him, and the deal was done with a blessing of a senior police official who supplied samples of police uniforms.
“The Minister, this police chief and even one of senior officials at parliament could be involved. That is why this matter is complicated, the Police can’t tell you anything despite keeping the two for days,” said the source.
Another CID source said the two were arrested on Friday evening after initial arrest and one was at Kanengo Police and another at Lumbadzi.
Njawala in reaction said, “We feel sorry as a party that they are going through what they are going through. Members of the party have been going to visit. Looking forward to justice taking its course.”
Police National spokesperson Peter Kalaya promised to respond to our query. He did not.
President Chakwera said he had ordered all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to be solicited within Malawi after Police uniforms were caught at KIA.
The Investigator Magazine is talking to the supplier and will soon publish more details.