LILONGWE (Papius Liwonde, Malawi NewsNow) – Malawians will have to wait longer before they know the truth behind the fire that razed down the offices of former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda’s office wing at Capital Hill in Lilongwe on the 14 February in 2017.
The fire-fighters’ late arrival meant when they arrived on the scene the fire had already caused extent damage to the offices.
The fire razed the officers after findings of a commission of inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika recommended that Chaponda be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over his questionable conduct as Malawi was in the process of importing relief maize from Zambia.
Many Malawians believe the fire was inside job to defeat justice. Chaponda was acquitted recently in the matter for lack of strong case by the prosecution.
Secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhura, who was among several senior government officials witnessing the fire in one wing of the building, said they are yet to get to the bottom of the cause of the fire. He refused to comment further on the matter.
The police have, for over a year, been giving the same response that they are still investigating the matter with National Police James Kadadzera telling Capital FM that he is yet to get new information from the team which was investigating the matter.
In 2004 when former Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana was Minister of Agriculture, fire destroyed the same building, with the accounts department taking the most damage.
At that time, there were suspicions that coupons meant for the poor had been abused and some people were demanding that a forensic audit be done.
When there were also queries that some politicians and government officials had abused millions of kwacha at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), a raging fire in October 2013 destroyed the company’s Blantyre head office.
In 2014, when there was a call for a recount of votes for a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate and main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate, the warehouse that contained the votes went up in flames, thereby forcing the matter to ground to a halt.