BLANTYRE, Malawi – Malawi’s former President Bakili Muluzi was arrested on corruption charges related to millions of dollars in donor funds that allegedly ended up in his personal account.
Muluzi, who was released on bail after being questioned Thursday, faces 42 counts of theft, corruption and breach of trust, said Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Gustave Kaliwo.
Muluzi’s lawyer, Fahad Assani, said the ex-leader denies the charges.
“We are very confident he will be found very, very innocent,” Assani said.
One of the indictments against Muluzi concerns $10 million in development funds from Taiwan, Morocco, Libya and Rwanda that found its way into his account, Kaliwo said. A second indictment deals with $50,000 the government allegedly channeled through the Tanzanian Embassy to Muluzi.
Sam Mpasu, spokesman for Muluzi’s United Democratic Front party, called the arrest a continuation of the “political persecution” waged by the administration of Muluzi’s hand-picked successor, Bingu wa Mutharika.
Wa Mutharika quit the party that put him in power last year, accusing his former allies of blocking his clampdown on corruption, and survived a subsequent attempt to impeach him. Several former government officials are either being investigated or are on trial for fraud and corruption.
Muluzi led the impoverished southern African nation from 1994-2004.