Agnes Nyalonje, Malawi’s land minister on Thursday was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from a businessman to influence a land dispute in his favour, the country’s anti-corruption bureau said.
The development is a blow for President Lazarus Chakwera, who made fighting corruption in the poor southern African country a central pillar of his election campaign in 2020.
Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau said it was investigating allegations that Kezzie Msukwa received bribes from businessman Zuneth Sattar and his agent Ashok Kumar Sreedharan to corruptly award contracts to companies belonging to Sattar.
Msukwa allegedly received land, a luxury car and $20,000 (17,700 euros) in cash, according to the arrest warrant seen by AFP.
“The bureau also established that Zuneth Sattar through his agent Ashok Kumar Sreedharan Aka Ashok Nair engaged in some corrupt practices in some land-related matters,” read an ACB statement.
“Kezzie Msukwa on four occasions corruptly used his official powers.”
Sreedharan was detained in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.
A corruption probe earlier this month saw Malawi’s former finance minister and an ex-central bank governor arrested on allegations that they manipulated accounts to obtain loans from the International Monetary Fund.