The Malawi government has banned its controlling officers, heads of departments and public agencies from providing the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) with information which is sensitive and constitutes government secrets.
According to a leaked letter dated 9th January, 2017 and signed by Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara, all civil servants have been ordered to refrain from producing sensitive and secret documents for criminal proceedings.
“I write to observe that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) are sometimes approached by investigative and prosecuting agencies to release documents that contain information that would be used for prosecuting purposes.
“Such information is usually sensitive and constitutes government secrets including Cabinet and National Security documents,” reads the letter.
The letter has further demanded the Civil servants to get permission from the Chief Secretary on any business concerning release of such documents.
“I wish to advise that MDAs should all the times seek authority from this office for clearance before releasing the documents in compliance with provisions of the Official Secrets Act (Cap. 14 :01) and the Promissory Oaths Act (Cap. 17:01). This will ensure that secret and sensitive government information is safeguarded,” adds the letter.
This comes at a time when a commission of inquiry and the ACB are probing government’s procurement of maize from Zambia.
ACB is also investigating numerous cases related to the siphoning of money from government coffers known as cashgate and hence may need information from some government departments.