President Lazarus Chakwera says it would not be right to offer amnesty to people who looted public resources during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
Delivering a statement on Saturday night, Chakwera said a lot of money belonging to taxpayers was stolen while DPP and former President Peter Mutharika were in power.
The Malawi leader added that it is common for people who executed and facilitated theft of public resources to suddenly start acting innocent in the hope of gaining sympathy from a new administration.
Chakwera assured Malawians that this is not going to happen this time since leniency is a mistake.
“In fact although it was among my promises to give those who have stolen from Malawians a period of amnesty, I am now persuaded that the looting committed by the DPP agents against Malawians was so great that it would be morally wrong to offer such an amnesty,” said Chakwera.
According to Chakwera, his administration is drafting legislation to empower law enforcement agencies to conduct lifestyle audits of public servants and to freeze and seize any accounts or property that defy legal explanation. The laws will also tackle new forms of corruption such as hiding ill-gotten wealth under proxy owners.
He warned that no one will be able to hide stolen property but added that in a case where any person returns ill-gotten wealth, it will be up to the courts and not to the president to determine the effect of the gesture on the severity of the person’s punishment.
He further said that his administration will push for toughening of penalties against corruption crimes and the expedition of corruption cases.
“I have directed the Minister of Justice to work with the Judiciary and other institutions to create special courts to dispose of corruption cases with speed and to hand down befittingly harsh punishments against culprits,” said Chakwera.
He also said that his administration will not focus on suspected personalities but will let appropriate agencies punish all culprits.
“Under my presidency, there will be no witch-hunting against anyone but neither will anyone be immune from the reach of the law,” said Chakwera.