MALAWI’S former water minister Charles Mchacha (pictured left) and two others were released on bail on Friday after being arrested a day earlier for alleged abuse of office, Malawi media reported.
Rainbow Television reported that Mchacha, Henrie Njoloma and Moses Mwenye pleaded not guilty in the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Friday said the three were arrested for alleged abuse of office involving MK539,000 ($663), which was allegedly used to pay for Mchacha’s honeymoon.
Spokesperson Egrita Ndala said they were arrested on Thursday after the bureau received a complaint on August 24 alleging that the Lilongwe Water Board had paid for Mchacha’s honeymoon at a hotel in Blantyre.
‘The investigation established that Hon. Charles Mchacha while serving as minister of irrigation and water development abused his office by directing Dr Henrie Njoloma to facilitate access to lodging services and foodstuffs for his advantage and for the advantage of others at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre using Government of Malawi funds for personal gain under the pretext of lobbying for adjustment of water tariffs,’ she said in a statement.
She said the investigation also established that Njoloma as the principal secretary for the ministry and Mwenye as acting chief executive officer for the Lilongwe Water Board, respectively, assisted Mchacha to abuse his office by initiating and instructing the process of preparing payment, using government funds for lodging services and beverages at the hotel.
According to Malawi media, Mchacha was also arrested last year over corruption offences related to the purchase of a plot in Blantyre.