Declare National Emergency over corruption

…Executive advised to work with Judiciary

A law expert has urged the Lazarus Chakwera administration to declare state plunder and corruption a national emergency in Malawi.

Professor Danwood Chirwa of University of Cape Town said this on Tuesday.

He was reacting to revelations of massive plunder of public resources carried out under the Peter Mutharika administration with some officials accused of procuring items at exorbitant prices and importing cement worth K5 billion duty free.

Danwood Chirwa

Chirwa noted that Malawians are angry over the theft of the public resources and are rightly calling for justice and accountability.

He, however, added that it is also important to protect the resources that are yet to be stolen under the new Tonse Alliance administration.

Chirwa then urged the new government to demonstrate unequivocal commitment to ending impunity about state plunder.

According to Chirwa, the Chakwera administration should declare state plunder and corruption a national emergency.

“[The government should] announce an emergency plan for dealing with the corruption and state plunder that has taken place already.

“The plan should include a thorough and independent investigation by forensic and legal experts into all forms of corruption and state plunder that have taken place at the behest of ruling parties in the last ten years at least. A comprehensive report should be expected to be submitted to the authorities and disseminated to the public and crime fighting agencies within six months,” said Chirwa.

He further urged the government to urgently and significantly revamp the crime fighting and prosecuting agencies, and, more specifically, set up a specialized cluster with the sole focus on prosecuting offenses and tracing and ceasing assets.

He also encouraged the Chakwera administration to work with the Judiciary to establish a division solely dedicated to adjudicating these cases.

“Any accountability system that doesn’t include Judicial mechanisms will never succeed in curbing this problem of state plunder,” said Chirwa.

According to Chirwa, the government should also develop and announce a clear strategy for preventing similar forms of criminality and implementation measures and should disband the “state capture project” immediately.

On state capture, Chirwa was making reference to Chakwera’s cabinet which includes seven people from three families.

Chirwa said the the cabinet has been set up in a manner similar to how the scramble for Africa was parceled out among European powers.

He said: “There can only be bad to come out of this.”

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