Malawi economic minister resigns over treason charges

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 15, 2013 11:28 AM
Malawi economic minister resigns over treason charges

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Malawi economic planning minister Goodall Gondwe resigned on Friday, five days after being arrested along with 10 other senior officials and charged with treason in connection with a suspected coup plot last year against President Joyce Banda.

"I have resigned from cabinet today for obvious reasons," Gondwe told Reuters. "I can't continue to serve in cabinet when I am facing charges."

Those arrested, including Peter Mutharika, the young brother of late president Bingu wa Mutharika, are accused of trying to prevent then vice-president Banda from assuming power after the death of Mutharika on April 5 last year.

They were released on bail on Thursday.

Gondwe, a former vice-president of the International Monetary Fund, presided over several years of rapid economic growth in the impoverished southern African nation before he was dropped from the cabinet amid a corruption scandal.

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He is one of the few ministers who served under Mutharika to have been appointed to Banda's cabinet.

His primary task was to try to an economic recovery by helping tame the runaway inflation that took hold in the last five months following a sharp depreciation in the value of the kwacha.

(Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Ed Cropley)