The Malawi government says it is investigating a mysterious fire in the capital Lilongwe that destroyed offices of key government departments holding sensitive information.
The fire gutted the last top two floors of a seven-storey government building destroying the government contracting unit, a department in the president and cabinet’s office.
It also destroyed two departments in the lands ministry – the lands registry and deeds registry. An official described the offices as “holding very sensitive information”.
The community services department in the country’s judiciary was also gutted in the fire reported to have started at 23:00 local time on Saturday.
Information and Digitalisation Minister Moses Kunkuyu said a probe led by the police, supported by other security agencies, was under way to establish the cause of the fire.
Soon after news of the fire broke, social media was awash with insinuations the fire may have been the work of saboteurs and that critical information may have been lost.
But the information minister said the information had been backed up digitally, assuring people not to “worry about any alleged loss of information for nefarious reasons”.
He said the investigations would be conducted quickly and the outcome made available to the public.