Catholic Bishops condemn delays in prosecution of corruption cases


Roman Catholic Bishops in Malawi have demanded the speeding up of prosecution of corruption cases in the country, saying the way the fight against corruption is currently being waged is posing more questions than answers.

The Bishops released a pastoral statement yesterday  in which they expressed their concerns over the fight against corruption under the Tonse Alliance administration.

The Bishops stressed that in  line with the Tonse Alliance campaign promises, Malawians expected the Government and relevant agencies entrusted with leading the fight against corruption to decisively and effectively combat this social ill that has become a cause for worry among Malawians in the country.

However, they are concerned that the way the fight against corruption is being waged is posing more questions than answers among people in the country.

“Is there a serious cooperation and coordination among government institutions mandated to deal with corruption? Why is there lack of noticeable progress on many corruption cases that involve the politically and business connected? Why are there long delays in any action being taken in response to reports submitted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to the relevant authorities? Who is being protected? Whose interests are being served? Are the seemingly public actions against the graft done in good faith or are they meant to serve the hidden political interests of a few?

“We are of the view that honest and decisive leadership on corruption, especially regarding high profile cases and high profile persons, would send a resounding signal of serious determination to eliminate corruption in Malawi,” reads part of the letter.

The religious leaders have also commented on the fights between the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Attorney General, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the Fiscal Police.

According to the Bishops, it was the expectation of Malawians that the agencies and offices would work together to serve the public interests when discharging their functions and obligations.

“It is also the Church’s considered view that certain bureaucratic elements within the legal and institutional framework have deliberately derailed the fight against corruption.

“We, the  Catholic Bishops in Malawi, are deeply disturbed to note that some of the long-time defenders of the poor of the poorest in the  country have now become spokespersons of the powerful and the rich – leaving the weakest citizens of our country groping in the dark alone in search of economic justice,” reads part of the  letter.

The Bishops have since urged  all duty bearers in the fight against corruption to systematically collaborate to combat corruption and do their duty without delay.

In recent months, the DPP Steven Kayuni and ACB director general Martha have appeared to be at loggerheads over cases. Chizuma had been complaining about the the DPP’s reluctance to give her office permission to prosecute certain corruption cases. Her concerns led to the amendment of the law to allow the bureau to prosecute anyone suspected of corruption without seeking consent from the DPP.

In August, Kayuni faulted Chizuma for not collaborating with other agencies, saying this had led to confusion in the handling of some cases by the state.

Chizuma ruffles Kayuni’s feathers