The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director Martha Chizuma has been faulted for flouting procedures and laws in what diplomats describe as “recruitment” of a British security agency that has led to Malawi’s highly sensitive information being shared with British agents.
The bureau has recruited the services of National Crimes Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom to run the ACB investigation without due diligence.
“Some of us believe Chizuma is angry with the Public Appointments Committee of the Malawi parliament for not recommending her name. It is understood that Parliament was by-passed in her decision to recruit the services of an arm of the British government to work on what we regard to be highly sensitive information on Malawi’s security”, Feston Chiphiko, who says to be legal and diplomatic expert said.
In October last year, ACB officials with agents of the NCA embarked on a raiding spree. However, the case is yet to properly take off with experts alleging it is because the Bureau flouted laws and procedures on how agents of foreign governments can be engaged on joint ventures.
“We are cooperating with our UK partners but this matter is still under investigation and I cannot provide any more details,” ACB Director General Martha Chizuma had told the local media in October.
“It is unsurprising that the case is not moving,” Chiphiko added.
There have been concerns over the manner of cooperation between the organisations considering that Malawi is a sovereign country.
“It is unheard of in diplomatic realms to have a highly sensitive office seek the services of a security arm of another country. Sharing information is okay. But having officials from another country erect its base in your own backyard is unjustifiable. My colleagues are shocked. It’s unprecedented”, confided one of the diplomats who could not be named as it would mean interference in local affairs.
In a statement yesterday, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda stressed the importance of following all legal formalities including the prescriptions under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act when collecting evidence from the UK or when sending evidence to the UK.
He said the laws need to be followed to the letter to “avoid needless and undeserving loss of lawsuits and as a matter of compliance with the rule of law.”
Nyirenda then stated that his office will cooperate with the UK on exchange of evidence using normal diplomatic channels while also respecting the sovereignty of the two countries.
While the AG did not directly fault Chizuma for her alleged reckless approach, his message reinforced what Chiphiko said.