Police in Lilongwe yesterday raided Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) headquarters and two arrested chief executive officer Collins Magalasi and other officers.
In a telephone interview, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed the arrests of Magalasi, communications officer Patrick Maulidi and Bright Mbewe from Mera’s procurement department.
But Kadadzera refused to disclose finer details of the arrests, saying doing so would jeopardise investigations.
He said: “I confirm the arrest of the three. However, it’s too early to disclose the reasons for the arrest as we are still investigating.”
However, a source confided in The Nation last evening that there were two contracts under probe at Mera.
The source said one contract relates to the procurement of a K700 million fuel testing van and was being investigated by police while the other is on procurement of branded merchandise, which the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is following.
The raid at Mera has come amid a wave of arrests of public officers since the Tonse Alliance administration led by President Lazarus Chakwera came into power following their triumph in the court-sanctioned June 23 fresh presidential election.
Last Thursday, the ACB arrested former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) board chairperson Jean Mathanga, former CEO John Kandulu and two others in connection with a K4 billion alleged corruption scandal at the power utility.
Mathanga was charged with two offences of giving false information contrary to Section 14 (10)(a) of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) and neglect of official duty contrary to Section 121 of the Penal Code.
Kandulu, on the other hand, is accused of abusing his influence as CEO on former director of finance Betty Mahuka for her to perform her duties and discharge her functions corruptly by making payments amounting to K4 billion to various suppliers without following procedures. Mahuka refused to oblige and resigned from her position.
Two weeks ago, former president Peter Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Chisale was arrested and charged with fraud and money laundering in connection with the procurement of duty-free cement worth K5 billion in the name of the then president.
Mutharika has since distanced himself from the case, which is also linking businessperson Shaffe Ahmed Chunara of Lilongwe.
In his speech on Saturday evening, Chakwera reiterated that the nine-party Tonse Alliance administration he is leading will not shield any corrupt officials and emphasised that there will be transparency in procurement processes.
He also said he was aware that some unscrupulous businesspersons register business entities under different names to dominate and reduce chances of smaller bidders.
Chakwera, who paired UTM Party president and the then country’s estranged Vice-president Saulos Chilima in the presidential ticket, campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption, impunity and abuse of public resources.