Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda will this afternoon return home from Germany where he went to attend a workshop in Berlin last Thursday.
According to a source who confided in The Nation, Chaponda will come on a South African Airways (SAA) flight which is expected to land at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe at 2pm.
When contacted to confirm the information, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Erica Maganga requested an e-mailed questionnaire which she had not yet responded to by the time we went to press.
Chaponda, who is currently on forced leave following an injunction granted by the High Court restraining him from performing official duties, sneaked out to Germany last Thursday on official duties using a SAA flight at 1pm.
German Ambassador Jurgen Borsch confirmed to our sister paper Weekend Nation that Chaponda was invited by the German government through the German Minister of Agriculture in December for a conference in Berlin, but said he was not aware whether the minister took the trip.
“I know he has received a long-standing invitation of the German Minister of Agriculture. It was extended in December, but I do not have any details,” said Borsch.
In an interview on Friday, Khadi Camara, who is German-African Business Association (Gaba) project manager for Southern and Eastern Africa, confirmed Chaponda’s arrival in Berlin.
“The minister is here for an agriculture trade fair meeting next week. We are not the organisers. We only had a meeting which is over; we are not responsible for his trade fair visit,” she said in a telephone interview.
Meanwhile, opposition parties represented in Parliament have said the allegations that President Peter Mutharika sanctioned Chaponda’s trip to Germany is a serious one demanding to be viewed on its merit in the House.