Police have arrested a manager at a fertiliser manufacturing company, Optichem Malawi Limited, allegedly in connection with some bags of subsidised fertiliser which were found with sand at one of the selling points in Mangochi.
The arrest of the companyâ€™s production manager, identified as Samuel Sinodeni (44), brings the number of suspects to five.
Optichem Malawi Limited general manager Bobby Singh has since expressed shock at the arrest of their employee.
â€œWe are shocked because we did not expect a company of our reputation which has been operating in the country for the past 40 years with a total annual production of 40 000-plus tonnes of fertiliser could have one of its managers implicated in tampering with 114 bags,â€ he said.
Singh could not comment further, saying he would want to hear from his manager first before making a public statement.
Mangochi Police officer-in-charge Elijah Kachikuwo confirmed the arrest on Wednesday.
He said Sinodeni has since been charged with theft, but indicated that the charge might change depending on the outcome of investigations.
â€œWe just feel that as production manager at the fertiliser company, he can assist us in our investigations. Sand and fertiliser are certainly two different things and we would want to find out why instead of fertiliser, the bags ended up having sand,â€ said Kachikuwo.
The sand was discovered after one of the bags burst during offloading at Katuli Depot in the district.
Kachikuwo said the police are still waiting for laboratory test results from Bvumbwe Research Station where the bags were sent to ascertain their content. He said the results are expected Friday.