An aircraft carrying Malawi’s vice president, Saulos Klaus Chilima, and nine others has gone missing, the southern African nation’s presidency said on Monday.

Chilima, 51, was aboard a military aircraft that left Lilongwe, the capital, at 09:17 a.m. (0717 GMT), Malawi’s Office of the President and Cabinet said. It said search and rescue operations were ongoing.

“All efforts by aviation authorities to make contact with the Aircraft since it went off the radar have failed thus far,” it said in a statement.

The aircraft had been scheduled to land at Mzuzu Airport at 10:02 a.m., according to the statement.

Malawi’s information minister, Moses Kunkuyu, told state broadcaster MBC that the search efforts had been intensified.

Chilima, seen as a potential candidate in next year’s presidential election, was arrested in 2022 over graft allegations.

However, a Malawi court dropped the corruption charges against him last month after the director of public prosecutions filed a notice for the case to be discontinued. Chilima has denied any wrongdoing.