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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Malawi anti-graft chief suspended
Ex-President Bakili Muluzi
Mr Muluzi has fallen out with his successor as president
The head of Malawi's anti-corruption bureau has been suspended, hours after arresting ex-President Bakili Muluzi.

Gustav Kaliwo's suspension was ordered by Malawi's current head of state, Bingu wa Mutharika, national TV said, but gave no reason for the decision.

Mr Muluzi denies corruption and fraud charges and was released on bail. The legal process has now been postponed as result of Mr Kawilo's suspension.

Mr Kawilo said he acted within the law when he detained Mr Muluzi on Thursday.

Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed presidential aide as saying Mr Kawilo had "been suspended pending investigation into his disciplinary conduct".

Mr Muluzi was arrested on Thursday morning and questioned by anti-corruption agents about financial transactions during his time in power.

Mr Kaliwo told a press conference that the former president was being charged with 42 counts of corruption, fraud and theft.


He said that some of the allegations related to donor money that had ended up in Mr Muluzi's personal account during his time in office.

"These are allegations we are making; Dr Muluzi should be perceived innocent until proven otherwise," he said.

A spokesman for Mr Muluzi's United Democratic Front (UDF) party said the move did not come as a surprise, and called it "political persecution".

Mr Muluzi's lawyer told journalists that the former president had remained silent during his one-and-a-half hour interrogation.

"We would rather the former president make full explanation to the nation in court and we are very confident he will be found very, very innocent," Fahad Assani said.

Earlier, there was commotion in parliament when MPs heard about Mr Muluzi's arrest.

Mr Muluzi stepped down as president after serving two terms in office in 2004.

He hand-picked Mr Mutharika to run for president on the UDF ticket.

But eight months after his victory, the new president resigned from the UDF over what he says was hostility to his anti-corruption campaign.

In April, Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha, who is close to Mr Muluzi, was arrested and charged with treason.

He is on bail under strict conditions and may not leave his house without permission from the president.

Malawi president 'a bad choice'
05 Apr 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Malawi
05 Jul 06 |  Country profiles

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