Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma was suspended hours after she allegedly obtained arrest warrants against Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka and former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni.
Chakwera’s administration through Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, in a letter dated 31 January, suspended Chizuma because she is facing criminal charges over her leaked audio.
However, reports indicate that the interdiction letter was handed to Chizuma a few hours after she had obtained a warrant of arrest against Mkaka and Kayuni.
“At 11 am today, the ACB obtained a warrant of arrest for the former DPP Steven Kayuni and former minister Eisenhower Mkaka. At 2 pm today, Martha Chizuma receives an interdict order from SPC Colleen Zambia, effectively stopping her from carrying out duties as ACB Director,” tweeted Journalist Jack McBrams.
The ACB had been investigating Mkaka on allegation that he received a vehicle from businessperson Zuneth Sattar who is alleged to have defrauded Malawi Government of billions of Kwacha through contracts.
Mkaka was a cabinet minister in Chakwera‘s administration after being first appointed in 2020 but was dropped from cabinet this week following a reshuffle.
ACB’s investigation into Kayuni started in November last year, according to the Commission of Inquiry report on the arrest of Chizuma.
It is alleged that Kayuni received travel allowances amounting to K5.5 million for an official trip to Austria. The trip was not undertaken and Kayuni told the commission that on 30th June, 2021, he offered to repay the allowances he had received.
Despite making the offer in 2021, Kayuni only repaid K3, 543, 750 on 1st December, 2022, a year and six months later.
The ACB suspects that Kayuni misused public office contrary to Section 25B(1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
The bureau has also obtained a warrant of arrest for Dziko Malunda, a prosecutor in the office of the DPP.
Chizuma’s arrest on December 6 last year was based on a complaint by Kayuni who alleged that Chizuma, in the audio, described him as corrupt and compromised.
Malawians believe that the suspension of Chizuma is part of a plot by the Lazarus Chakwera administration to remove Chizuma from ACB.
“We are seeing here very corrupt office holders using their power to shield themselves from corruption probes,” said social commentator Onjezani Kenani.
Kayuni’s complaint to the police was based on a High Court ruling in a criminal review case which advised the DPP to undertake criminal proceedings against Chizuma over the audio clip if the state noted that there was sufficient cause for the same.
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