The United Transformation Movement (UTM)’s fundraising drive has landed one of its top officials George Saonda in trouble as police have arrested him today for stealing money amounting to K17 million from two foreign nationals – a Nigerian and a Burundian.
National police spokesperson James Kadadzera has confirmed the arrest and said Saonda was being kept at Chileka police.
In the first case, Saonda alongside well-known so-called football agent Kondi Msungama and another person approached a Burundian, Alfonso Garetha, and lied to him that they would help process a Malawian citizenship for him and his nine children.
They pocketed K6.3 million from him and never delivered on the deal.
In the second case, Saonda approached a Nigerian based in Lilongwe and lied to him that he was selling land in the upmarket Area 43 in Lilongwe. He pocketed K10.6 million for this and he vanished.
UTM has been getting donations for its activities but senior people in the group have been complaining that Saulos Chilima is pocketing all the money and investing it in personal business such as buying a hotel in Zambia.
Instead he is asking to find own sources to raise money for the group, hence Saonda’s predicament.
However, Saonda has a track-record of extortion and has been arrested before on several cases.
In 2017, Saonda made media headlines when he reported being embroiled in bribery scandal where he pocketed millions of money from Indians lying to them that he has connections for them to get business deals.
In 2016, he was arrested for conning a South African business tycoon of K152 million.
According to the reports, the business man gave the money to Saonda on the agreement that he would be awarded business in form of tenders and other lucrative businesses.
In 2015, he conned a businessman in Mulanje (owner of Kokotowa Lodge at Chitakale) that he would help him process a licensed gun.
He kept fleecing him on this and other tricks such that the man almost got bankrupt, sold part of the structures of his lodge. He never got the gun and Soanda kept telling him lies.
Saonda’s arrest comes two days after another UTM member Dr Simbiri for stealing ESCOM electricity amounting to MK12 million.
Simbiri illegally tapped ESCOM electricity and connected to his business premises in Lilongwe.
UTM whose leader is Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima is yet to response on its officials being arrested for theft and fraud.
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