On Wednesday January 22, 2020 the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Thom Mpinganjira, Group Chief Executive Officer of FDH Holdings Limited. Here is what is known so far about the case:
May 2019 to June 2019
Following disputed presidential elections in May 2019 that re-elected President Peter Mutharika of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), two of the opposition candidates Saulos Chilima (United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party) petitioned the courts—claiming the elections were marred by a myriad of irregularities and rigged in Mutharika’s favour. The case has been heard and judgment will be released any time.
The case is being heard by a five-judge panel consisting of Justice Healy Potani, Redson Kapindu, Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo and Dingiswayo Madise.
June 2019-December 2019
During the course of case, unknown people (Mpinganjira is now a suspect) allegedly approached two members of the judges and discussed issues that ACB believes were an offer of a bribe to the judges.
The Judges met and discussed the issue and reported the matter to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.
28th November 2019
The ACB boss received a phone call from a member of the judiciary to alert him on the bribery allegations. Chief Justice Nyirenda and ACB director Reyneck Matemba met in person to discuss the allegations. Matemba requested Nyirenda to put complaint in writing.
2nd December 2020
Nyirenda writes a letter, issuing official complaint to ACB, registering the complaint of the judges.
December 2019 to January 2020
On a date unknown, ACB receives two sworn statements from two judges.
Sunday, 12th January 2020
Media reveals the ACB has received the complaint. Two judges have made a complaint through the Chief Justice is the gist of the reports. No party is mentioned.
Tuesday, 14th January 2020
ACB director Matemba holds a press briefing on the complaint. Matemba however, comes under heavy public criticism after failing to release names of suspects. He justifies the decision citing legal reasons. He however confirms that a businessman and a public official are under investigation.
Thursday, 16th January, 2020
Civil society group, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), holds a nationwide demonstration calling for arrest and release of names of the suspects.
Wednesday, 22 January, 2020
Thom Mpinganjira, one of the richest Malawians and Group CEO of FDH Holdings Limited is arrested in Blantyre by ACB who are supported by military police alongside the Malawi Police Service.
Wednesday, 22 January, 2020
At around 5pm, ACB hands over Mpinganjira to police and is kept at Blantyre Police Station for the night pending a court appearance the following day. He arrives at the station between 5pm and 6pm.
Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
At after midnight, the Director of ACB received calls from Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa and lawyer for Mpinganjira Chipiliro Mpinganjira (note that Mpinganjira is a serving deputy minister in the Mutharika cabinet), notifying him that the Zomba magistrates court has issued an order quashing the arrest warrant for the FDH bank boss. Mpinganjira is subsequently released.Currently ACB boss Matemba has applied to the court to cancel the court order obtained by Mpinganjira at Zomba Magistrate’s Court.