Former Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister, Joseph Malanji, has been arrested for alleged money laundering through his purchase of a $700,000 (K12 million) helicopter.
Malanji also came under scrutiny following his ownership of a hotel suspected to have been acquired with embezzled funds.
Malanji was arrested by Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission’s (DEC) anti-money laundering squad. The DEC Public Relations Officer noted in a press release published in Lusaka yesterday that in the second count, Malanji is thought to have purchased a helicopter, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger, for $700,000.00, a property reasonably considered to be proceeds of crime.
This is not the first time Malanji is being probed. He was arrested in 2021 on corruption charges and previously denied the allegations.
“The hotel has since been seized together with the two helicopters, the other one being the helicopter he was arrested for earlier which are currently in South Africa and arrangements are being made to have them brought into the country,” the commission’s spokesman Mathias Kamanga said in a statement.
According to local Diamond TV, Malanji has been released on police bail.
Malanji was a member of former President Edgar Lungu’s cabinet before he lost the presidential election in August 2021.
Zambia’s new government has launched an anti-corruption campaign. It has yet to get any significant convictions.
More on Joseph Malanji
Malanji was nominated to the National Executive Committee for Land and Natural Resources by President Rupiah Banda in 2011. Malanji, a former member of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, joined the Patriotic Front under Banda’s successor, Michael Sata. Malanji was elected President of the African Golf Confederation in 2013.
During the 2016 Zambian general election, Malanji was elected to the Kwacha constituency in Central Zambia as a Member of Parliament. On the 5th of January, 2018, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by President Edgar Lungu. Malanji was entrusted with guaranteeing a free and fair Congolese general election as the head of the SADC Electoral Observation Committee. He was one of Zambia’s deputies to the Fourth Pan-African Parliament in 2017. Following Lungu’s defeat in the 2021 presidential elections, Malanji lost his place in the government.