By Pilirani Kachinziri:
Manase Jossam, who was arrested for allegedly possessing materials belonging to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) and National Registration Bureau (NRB), is expected to appear before Nkukula Magistrates Court in Lilongwe today.
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said Jossam is expected to answer a charge of being found in possession of the government’s property suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully acquired.
The suspect was arrested in Area 25, Lilongwe, on February 14 after a police chase when he failed to stop at a snap roadblock.
Mec Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, in a statement released on Monday, said these are non-sensitive materials that cannot be used to obtain voter registration or access polling by fraud.
“…No voting materials were found among the recovered items as reported by the media,” he said.
Alfandika said, when police officers caught the suspect and searched his vehicle, they found transparent packets whose purpose he could not explain.
Later, police officers went to the suspect’s house where they found two NRB backpacks containing materials belonging to Mec.
The materials included 20 monitor identity cards, two marked empty envelopes, two voter registration application book tracking forms, two handbooks for security forces, two handbooks for monitors, completed accreditation forms of party and local monitors and two registration booths.
“Mr Jossam told Kanengo Police that he bought the backpacks in Nkhotakota for personal use and was not aware of their contents until that time the officers searched him,” Alfandika said.
He said Mec is also doing internal investigations, using the information from some of the documents, to identify staff that might have used the backpacks during voter registration period.
Mec Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, has promised free, fair and credible elections where nine presidential candidates will compete. Other candidates will also compete for positions of member of Parliament and ward councillor.