Ex-Malawi President for NPP convention

HARARE - Joice Mujuru has invited fraud-accused ex-Malawi President Joyce Banda to her National People’s Party (NPP) convention as the guest of honour.

This comes as Malawi has issued an arrest warrant for its former president over alleged abuse of office and money laundering offences over a two-year period when she was in office.

Banda, who was Malawi’s president for two years from 2012, left the country when she lost in elections to incumbent Peter Mutharika and has not returned since 2014.

It is not clear where she is now.

Mujuru’s spokesperson, Gift Nyandoro, who is also NPP secretary general-elect, confirmed that the party had indeed selected Banda as the tentative guest of honour for the August 9 congress.

“I need to confirm the arrival of our foreign dignitaries first so I will be able to say who has not made it and who is coming so call me later in the day because to be honest,  as of now I am in the dark,” Nyandoro said.

Mujuru and Banda met in New York recently at the high-level African women leaders’ meeting where they reportedly discussed the NPP’s convention.

It was not immediately clear if Banda would pitch up, given that investigations by Malawi police’s fiscal and fraud department had “unearthed credible evidence” against her.

The alleged offences were part of a wider corruption scandal uncovered in 2013, in which senior government officials siphoned millions of dollars from State coffers, Malawi national police spokesperson James Kadadzera said.

“The evidence gathered raises reasonable suspicion that the former president committed offences related to abuse of office and money laundering. The warrant of arrest is in force and necessary legal formalities are being pursued,” Kadadzera said in a statement.

It was not clear if Malawi police had contacted Interpol. The Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) for Zimbabwe is part of the ZRP’s Criminal Investigation Department. All staff members at Interpol Harare are police detectives, raising the spectre of Banda’s arrest if she pitches up.

NPP acting deputy spokesperson for the convention Jefferson Chitando told the Daily News that it was all systems go for the convention that will be held on Wednesday next week at the City Sports Centre in the capital.

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