Four journalists will share the Media Institute of Southern Africa's (Misa) John Manyarara Investigative Journalism Award for 2006, it was announced on Monday.

They are Mabvuto Banda of the Nation Publication, Malawi, for his story "Mwawa Uses Government Funds for Wedding"; and Stefaans Brummer, Sam Sole and Wisani wa ka Ngobeni of the Mail & Guardian, South Africa, for their Oilgate exposes.

Banda's story exposed how Malawi's then Minister of Education Yusuf Mwawa used public funds to finance his private wedding at a posh hotel and tried to pass off the payment as for a seminar for his ministry.

The story and a follow-up article led to the expulsion of Mwawa from public office and his conviction and sentencing to 12 years imprisonment for theft, altering documents and abuse of office.

The Oilgate series arose from a probe into suggestions that taxpayers' funds were diverted from the state oil company to the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections, and that the private company allegedly behind this acted as a front for the ANC when state resources were harnessed in the company's cause.

The award, named for the founding Misa Trust Fund chairperson Judge John Oliver Manyarara, will be made on Tuesday at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg, said Misa spokesperson Werani Chirambo.

Chirambo said the award had been made since 2001 and sought to encourage investigative journalism in the southern African region by recognising excellence in the field.

It carried a cash prize of Euro2000 (about R18 340) and about R91 700 scholarship for further professional training in journalism. - Sapa