(for Immediate Release 17/07/2014)
Fire Incident at MEC Warehouse in Lilongwe
The Commission met in an emergency session on Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 in Lilongwe to, among other things, consider preliminary reports issued to it concerning the fire that gutted its Warehouse in Lilongwe during the night of Tuesday, 15 July, 2014.
According to the reports, the fire, which begun at around 00.25 hours, destroyed all electoral materials that were in the Warehouse including 2,400 ballot boxes which contained ballot papers, 81 Gas Cylinders, 168 Gas Lamps, amongst other items.
Lilongwe City Assembly Fire Brigade was immediately called to put out the fire. Among the Ballot Papers that have been destroyed are those for Lilongwe City South East Constituency that were due to be recounted following a Court Order.
Having analysed the preliminary reports, the Commission is of the view that, arson cannot be ruled out. In view of the premises, the Commission has formally approached the Inspector General of Police to institute appropriate investigations.
The Commission wishes to emphasize that all security measures were taken. The official security detail at the warehouse included 10 armed Police Mobile Service (PMS) officers and two Security Guards from SWOOP Security Company per shift.
In addition, Malawi Congress Party provided two monitors per shift.
We have been made to understand that the National Intelligence Services (NIS) provided services although this was not agreed with us. Equally there was no prior notification of their involvement
The Commission will provide appropriate updates on this unfortunate incident.
Justice Maxon R. Mbendera, SC