Police in Limbe have recovered 169 bags of relief maize which were diverted from flood victims in Malawi’s lower Shire district of Chikhwawa
Chikhwawa District disaster risk management officer Anthony Mchawa was allegedly arrested on the scene at Chigumula Market in Blantyre where the bags were being off-loaded and immediately sold to businesspersons.
Southern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said the incident happened on Saturday when Mchawa and a driver diverted the 180 bags of maize while in transit from Lilongwe.
“He sold 11 bags at K6 500 (about $16) each,” he said.
The maize, according to Gondwa, was relief food for the 1 118 households at Sabvala safe haven in T/A Makhuwira.
In a related development, four traditional leaders in Chikhwawa, including Group Village Head Sabvala, have been arrested for allegedly stealing relief items meant for flood victims.
Chikhwawa Police Station publicist Sunday Ngulube said the four were found with relief maize, soya flour and non-food items meant for relief victims.
Ngulube said police officers arrested the four upon a search in the villages following a commotion that erupted due to differences on how to distribute relief items.
Police say investigations are underway to unearth a cartel of relief food theft donated to the government by development partners.
Coordinator for Disaster Management Affairs James Chiusiwa said his office has received a report of the arrest of Mchawa, but said he is waiting for more details from the DCs office in Chikhwawa.
All the five are yet to appear before court.