Chimulirenji implicated in fertiliser procurement scam

Chimulirenji ACB nabs journalist Henderson

Malawi's former Minister for Distaster Management in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Everton Chimulirenji is on Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) radar after being implicated in a fertiliser procurement scam. 

This follows an allegation the Bureau claims to have received on September 4, 2020 on the same that Chimulirenji abused his office by influencing the awarding of a K200 million contract to Optichem during the 2019/2020 fiscal year. 

The allegation claimed Chief Commissioner of Prisons Grace Wandika Phiri was instructed by Chimulirenji to make sure that the Malawi Prison Service Procurement Officer awards the contract to the firm without following the proper procedures.

The Bureau, according to a statement the it has released, says it established that Priwil General Dealers -belonging to one Prince Henderson and Willy Herbert Chimulirenji- uttered false documents from Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Development Commission of Malawi, Food and Agriculture Organisation and FDH Bank. 

Prince Henderson
Arrested: Henderson

The two are said to have used the documents in their bid for a contract to supply fertiliser worth K76 million to Malawi Prison Service. 

The statement from the Bureau explains: "The investigation also established that Henderson independently compiled the bid document with very minimal consultations with his partner, Willy Chimulirenji".

Henderson, a journalist by profession, has since been nabbed over the issue and according to the ACB, he is likely to answer charges of providing false information to a public servant and uttering false documents.

This is said to be contrary to section 122 of the Penal Code, Forgery, contrary to section 356 of the Penal Code and Uttering false documents contrary to section 360 of the Penal code.

He is expected to be taken to court after being questioned by the Bureau.

There was no immediate comment from Chimulirenji as he could not be reached through his known contact lines. 

He also briefly became Malawi's Vice President, albeit for nine months, when he played running mate to former President Peter Mutharika in the 2019 Tripartite Election before the duo was booted out of power during the Fresh Presidential Election the following year. 

Chimulirenji becomes the first high profile figure to be implicated over shoddy deals in the country's flagship Fertiliser Input Subsidy Programme, now trading under the banner Affordable Input Programme (AIP).