Maizegate was perpetuated by jealous politicians' ambitions he says
Former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda has hinted that his prosecution in the 2016 Zambia maize purchase case on allegations of theft and shady dealings in the procurement of the staple grain was the work of his political rivals.
His remarks follow his re-acquittal on Tuesday by the Zomba High Court in the corruption related case which found him with no case to answer following an appeal by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in 2018.
In his ruling, Judge Redison Kapindu dismissed ACB’s appeal arguing that it failed to prove its case at the Magistrates court resulting in the lower court coming up with a verdict based on the law.
Reacting to the judgment, Chaponda suspected that he is a mere victim of circumstances caught up in what he described as others' jealous ambitions.
He stated that the fact that the case was dismissed even before he was put on defence shows that "it was just mere false accusations by other people to prosecute me for other reasons".
“I'm very happy. First I praise God the Almighty who has made it first of all for me to reach this far.
“This case started in 2016 and it was brutal. The people expected me even to die but I survived.
“Secondly, I thank the President Peter Mutharika because he is a democrat and believes in the rule of law; he allowed me to be removed as a Minister because there was a lot of pressure from the people that I had committed an offence.
“Very often in Malawi we are victims of circumstances perpetuated by people who don’t want you in your position jealousy,” he disclosed
ACB challenged the Magistrates decision to free the DPP heavyweight on the charge of illegally possessing foreign currency at his residence and giving false information to the bureau that the money belonged to the party where he was then serving as its Vice President for the southern region.
His lawyer Tamando Chokhotho said he was not surprised with the outcome as he had raised pertinent issues against the appeal which he said was not properly filed and not competent.
The DPP MP for Mulanje South West was arrested in July 2019 alongside businessman Rashid Tayub of Transglobe Produce Limited and Chairperson of Grain Traders and Processors Association (GTPA).