The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has arrested former Zomba Malosa legislator Anderson Undani and Pangani Nazombe on suspicion of corrupt practices.
A statement issued on Wednesday, signed by ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala, states that the bureau arrested the two on October 1 2018 after it established that they did not deliver materials for the construction of Mapalo Full Primary School in the constituency.
Reads the statement in part: “The two also abused Constituency Development Fund (CDF) meant for a project at Domasi CCAP Primary School and requested Zomba District Council to pay transportation charges to Nelson Sonkho for a project that did not exist.”
Ndala confirmed the development in an interview on Wednesday, saying the two were taken to Zomba Magistrate’s Court on October 2 where they were charged with two counts of abuse of office contrary to Section 25B (1) as read with Section 34 of the Corrupt Practices Act; theft, obtaining money by false pretence and forgery, contrary to Section 278, 319 and 356 of the Penal Code.
The trial is set to start on November 28 this year.
The development comes amid increased corruption reports in councils, particularly in CDF, Local Development Funds (LDF) and District Development Fund (DDF) that are meant for development projects at district level.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa recently admitted high levels of corruption and abuse of funds in local councils.
The minister said an audit carried out in 2016 for LDF, CDF and DDF, revealed rampant theft of public funds in almost all local councils, affecting the implementation of various projects targeting locals.
He cited the procurement of tools under the Public Works Programme that was marred by gross irregularities.
Reports on LDF projects have also revealed ghost projects and ghost workers in most local authorities.
Observing that the mismanagement and abuse of resources in councils threatens the decentralisation process, Nankhumwa hinted that his ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has drawn guidelines to address the challenges.
United States Agency for International Development (USAid) mission director in Malawi, Littleton Tazewell, also bemoaned high levels of corruption in local councils.
Tazewell was recently quoted in media as having said that it is tyranny to see resources that are meant to help build schools, clinics, bridges go into personal pockets.