‘I was only a middleman’: Prophet denies stealing money from Mcheka Chilenje


Prophet Andrew Kambeja has rejected claims that he duped Malawi’s former deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje out of K15 million in a process to buy Matindi premises.

The development follows a recorded phone call audio which has gone viral on social media where Mcheka Chilenje is heard pleading with Prophet Kambeja to give back her K15 million.

In the audio, Chilenje, a former Member of Parliament for Nsanje North, is heard telling the prophet that she will use her lawyers if the man of God whom she called ‘son’ fails to give back her money which she said she gave him on trust as man of God.

She is further heard accusing Kambeja to have connived with Matindi premises landlord Elvis Nselebo to dupe her out of the money  which she said she borrowed on a very high interest rate.

“I trusted you, son, as a man of God but you have duped me. I want my money. I used my property as a collateral for me to obtain the loan,” Chilenje tells the prophet in the audio.

However, when Malawi24 contacted Kambeja to hear his side of the story, Prophet Kambeja said he has not stolen from Mcheka Chilenje claiming he was only used as a middleman between her and Matindi premises landlord, Nselebo.

Kambeja despite being heard in the leaked audio apologizing to Chilenje, saying ‘sorry mom’, told this publication that he never did a transaction of the said amount of money adding that if it was true, police would have had arrested him by now.

“There was no such transaction and I never duped her. The woman wanted to buy Matindi premises from Elvis Nselebo and because she trusted me as a man of God, she was involving me. I was not directly involved. She wanted me to mediate,” said Kambeja in an interview.

Nselebo who is the co-accused on the matter said he wouldn’t comment much but said he feels this is being perpetrated by his current Matindi premises tenant, Maranatha Boys Academy, which he said is barring potential buyers of the premises.

Despite confessing that Chilenje wanted to buy the premises which was leased to Maranatha Boys Academy, Nselebo told Malawi24 that he did not steal her money.

Efforts to directly hear from the former deputy speaker proved futile as our Monday morning phone calls went unanswered and she picked it up on the fifth attempt but only told us that she was in a meeting and our evening phone calls and WhatsApp attempts yielded nothing.

In his reaction, Maranatha Academy Managing Director Ernest Kaonga told this publication that he is discouraging potential buyers because there is an existing 10 years lease agreement of K240 million which he said was duly paid to the landlord, Nselebo.

“My question is how would one offer the premises for sale yet there is an existing lease agreement? Yes, I warned Mcheka Chilenje not to pay for the premises because there is a court injunction and an existing lease agreement. If she listened, all this would have not happened to her,” said Kaonga.

He concluded by saying that with this saga, people will start to realizing that his school was evicted from Matindi premises for other reasons and not that he failed to pay rent as claimed by the landlord, Nselebo.

Meanwhile, there were reports that Nselebo has handed himself to police over the matter and has promised to pay back the money to Mcheka Chilenje by Friday this week. However, Nnselebo has refuted the rumours.