Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya yesterday updated the National Assembly on the arrest at the weekend of Machinga Central member of Parliament Shaibu Kaliati (United Democratic Front-UDF) who has since been released on bail.
In his announcement, the Speaker did not specify the crime the MP committed to find himself in police custody.
Msowoya said all he could brief the House was that the MP was arrested and is now on police bail.
However, Salima North-West MP Jessie Kabwila (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) asked the Speaker to provide more details on the arrest and his status in the House.
Without elaborating Kaliati’s alleged crime, Kabwila wondered why the MP who was part of the passing of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill into law found himself contravening the same law.
She said: “What has happened to Honourable Shaibu [Kaliati]? Has he been suspended? What is his status of now? I mean the MP was part of the Divorce Bill and he goes and does the very same things in conflict with the Bill? What is the position?”
But the Speaker said Kaliati was innocent until proven guilty. He asked Kabwila to seek more information from relevant authorities if she needed more details.
He said: “Honourable member, if you want this to be debated on [in Parliament], you need to make a formal application and Honourable Kaliati is an innocent man unless otherwise stated.”
At the weekend, social media was rife with reports that Kaliati, who was not present in the House yesterday, was arrested on Friday on allegations bordering on a sex scandal at a lodge in Lilongwe.
However, UDF chief whip Lillian Patel refused to comment on the matter yesterday, saying there are a lot of versions of the story; hence, only the concerned MP could competently comment.
National Police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo refused to comment on the matter despite a police source confirming that the MP was arrested on Friday and released on Saturday.