Malawi president fires seven ministers over graft

Scandal brewed in December when the then minister of lands, Kezzie Msukwa, was arrested on allegations that he had received a bribe from a wealthy businessman to give him land.

FILE: Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera. Picture: @LazarusChakwera/Twitter.

LILONGWE - Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday unveiled a new 30-member cabinet, dropping or demoting seven ministers, three days after dismissing the entire government over graft concerns.

Scandal brewed in December when the then minister of lands, Kezzie Msukwa, was arrested on allegations that he had received a bribe from a wealthy businessman to give him land.

In the new lineup, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu has been replaced by the previous trade minister, Sosten Gwengwe, but no reason for the change was given.

The president also demoted two influential ministers -- Eisenhower Mkaka, who was moved from foreign affairs to the forestry portfolio, and Richard Chimwendo Banda, who was switched from homeland security to the sports and youth ministry.

A source at the anti-corruption police told AFP that Mkaka and Banda are among several top officials being probed over government tenders.

Most of the ministers in the previous cabinet were retained.

Chakwera notched up a historic election victory in 2020 by campaigning on promises to fight corruption in the poor southern African country.