Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councillor for Mlomba Ward in Machinga, Alexander Cosmos, is in police custody over alleged diversion of relief items.
Cosmos chairs the district’s Disaster Risk Management committee, a position he might have taken advantage of to ‘divert’ maize relief items for flood survivors induced by CycloneFreddy in the district.
Machinga District Council public relations officer Martin Chiwanda confirmed the development in an interview with journalists on Saturday while the police had not yet released any information regarding Cosmos’ arrest.
On Friday evening, Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera lamented theft and hoarding of supplies intended for survivors of Tropical Cyclone Freddy currently living in evacuation camps.
Chakwera warned that his government will deal with anyone found to be stealing or hoarding the supplies.
“In a number of places, there are reports of greedy and selfish people hoarding supplies intended for victims. In Mangochi and Zomba, two people have already been arrested for this conduct, and I commend the Malawi Police Service for not entertaining this criminal behaviour,” he said.
President Chakwera expressed disappointment that while other people are working hard to donate hard-earned money and supplies to those affected, some people could be taking advantage of the disaster to engage in criminal acts designed to exploit the situation.
He appealed to well-meaning Malawians to report such people to police so that they are held accountable.
“This is a serious situation and we all need to take it seriously. We do not have time for games,” emphasized President Chakwera.