Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has demanded State House to make sure that employees who have been using President Lazarus Chakwera’s name to commit corrupt acts are reported to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
HRDC has released a statement today following a leaked internal memo by State House Chief of Staff Prince Kapondamgaga in which the Chief of Staff admitted that some staff have been involved in fraudulent acts.
The Chief of Staff advised staff to refrain from such acts and told those who have already committed the acts to “immediately take appropriate corrective actions.”
In a statement released today, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said while they appreciate and applaud the State House for taking this bold step in warning the culprits, they feel that the State House has not done enough.
He added that in the war against corruption and its related ills, the State House has to take a firm stand.
“Hence, a mere warning is a slap in the face of Malawians against criminality. HRDC expectation is that the State House will report the individuals in questions to ACB so that the case is investigated and allow legal action to be instituted.
“These are criminal acts that cannot be condoned, even when they are committed by people surrounding the President,” said Trapence.
Criminal acts reported against State House employees, according to Kapondamgaga, include soliciting and receiving money from prospective bidders of public procurement in exchange for a promise to influence the awarding of contracts, soliciting money from business owners and parastatals using the Presidents name and using the name of the State House to unlawfully acquire public goods, such as public land for private use.
The internal memo came after reports that some State House and Office of President and Cabinet employees have grabbed land at Area 49 in Lilongwe. The land, estimated to be seven acres, was reserved for construction of a community clinic and school.
Trapence has since applauded the communities of Area 49, New Shire who took it upon themselves to question and stop the land encroachers.
He said such resilience and collective community vigilance must be commended and emulated and he urged all communities to keep a watchful eye over public officers who would want to abuse their authority through criminal transactions.
“Our final call is to the Ministry of Lands and all city councils to be proactive and vigilant in protecting public land. These gross acts of land robbery are happening under their eyes,” he said.
He explained that they expect the Ministry of Lands to report the matter, as well as other areas where public land has been encroached, to law enforcement agencies in considering that Malawi is a land of laws and cannot allow people to grab public land willy-nilly.