BLANTYRE — Malawi police said Saturday they had arrested a leading rights activist and government critic for possession of foreign currency without valid documents.
John Kapito, who chairs the state-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), was found holding US dollars and euros without "valid bank documents," national police spokesman Davie Chingwalu told AFP.
The amount was not disclosed.
Kapito, an outspoken critic of the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika, was due to leave for Switzerland next week to present a paper on the human rights situation in the impoverished southern African nation.
The present economic meltdown in Malawi has caused a severe shortage of foreign exchange, creating a thriving black market for foreign cash.
Chingwalu said police wanted to interrogate Kapito on how he obtained the money, saying the law demands that applicants must first process bank documents to possess foreign currency.
Kapito, who also heads the Consumers Association of Malawi, often accuses the Mutharika administration of lacking respect for basic human rights, rule of law and governance practices.
Mutharika has in the past accused Kapito of wanting to unseat him.
The MHRC was established by government in 1995 following the country's first multi-party elections that ended president Kamuzu Banda's dictatorship.
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