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South Africa & World

Norman Chisale, Malawi’s Richest Bodyguard

Norman Chisale outside court

By Newsdesk

Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika (C) and Norman Chisale (left) wears two football club scarves of the teams of a friendly match as part of national celebrations to commemorate the country’s 54th Independence Anniversary, July 6, 2018. (Photo by Amos Gumulira / AFP)

Anti-corruption prosecutors in Malawi obtained a court order allowing them to seize property belonging to one Norman Chisale, who led the security detail for former president Peter Mutharika while he was in office.

Included in the court order was an itemised list of assets belonging to Chisale and his close associates, including his wife and daughter.

It is a long list.

It includes 78 vehicles, most of them high-end, including Range Rovers, Land Cruisers, Mercedes Benzes, BMW X5s, Jeep Wranglers and a Hummer; at least two bank accounts registered in his name, containing 30-million kwacha (about $38 500) and 87-million kwacha (about $111 500) respectively; and 12 properties in Malawi, including lodges, residences and commercial office complexes.

According to a source close to the investigation, two properties in Russia, three properties in South Africa and a mall in Zambia are also linked to Chisale.

In total, the value of the Chisale’s fortune amounts to at least 1.7-billion kwacha (about $2.2-million).
Chisale earned a monthly salary of 1.2-million kwacha (about $1 500) a month after tax while working for the president.

Factoring in per diems and allowances, which could have raised Chisale’s monthly income to 6.2-million kwacha (about $8 000), it would have taken him 274 years to earn his current wealth.

Chisale began his career in military intelligence, before getting a job in 2009 as a valet to the then-president, Bingu wa Mutharika.

In addition to the corruption charges, he is now facing multiple criminal charges, including murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, abuse of office, tax evasion and forgery.

Prosecutors claim that he even faked the education certificates that he used to obtain employment in the military, and later in the presidency.

He said that he owns only a few cars, and that most of the vehicles attributed to him were gifts to the former president, received while in office, which Chisale had received and registered on his behalf.

He is happy to point investigators in the direction of Mutharika, who is by all accounts enjoying retirement at his beachside residence on Lake Malawi.

“Sometimes the vehicles came as gifts for the president but the president would say, ‘No, I don’t want to touch that car, speak to my son Chisale’,” Chisale said.

“Then the person would call me and say, ‘I have spoken to the boss and he says I should speak to you.’

Then I would say, ‘No problem …’ They would say we have a car and they would ask me in whose name should the car be registered and my job was to receive the car and bring it to State House, and the president would direct [to] whom I should give the car.”

Chisale said that some of the vehicles were given to chiefs, religious leaders and the president’s relatives.
He said there is no crime in receiving gifts, and that every Malawian president has done the same.


Robert Tapfumaneyi