Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa has bashed President Lazarus Chakwera for directing his anger at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and its Director Martha Chizuma due to lack of some details in the ACB report, saying Chakwera was asking the bureau to break the law when he demanded a special investigation report.
Nankhumwa has urged Martha Chizuma not to be intimidated by “any ranting or anger” from the president.
The Leader of Opposition released a statement yesterday in response to the president’s speech on Tuesday regarding the corruption report on Zuneth Sattar, which was submitted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after Chakwera asked for the same three weeks ago.
Chakwera in his speech claimed that the ACB report is substandard, saying the Sattar investigation requires “skillful hands and a cool head, to avoid rookie procedural and strategic mistakes that risk giving the corrupt cartels in our land a footing to obstruct and oppose every move we make to defeat them.”
However, Nankhumwa in his statement faulted Chakwera for projecting Chizuma as somebody “who does not know how to do her job apparently because the report did not include finer details about how the people that have been mentioned conducted themselves with Sattar.”
He also noted that under Section 4 (4) of the Corrupt Practices Act, the only kind of reports the President is entitled to receive from ACB are general conduct reports of the Bureau’s business and the president has no power to ask for a special investigation report from the Bureau over a particular case.
“In fact, by asking the Bureau to furnish him with a special investigative report, the President was asking Bureau to break the law.
“I am personally suspicious over this ‘Presidential anger’ because this is the second time that President Chakwera has publicly shown his displeasure with Ms. Martha Chizuma over her conduct on the issue of Sattar. Is it possible that the President is deliberately creating an alibi, and setting the State for the removal of Ms. Martha Chizuma?
“As Leader of Opposition in Parliament, I wish to urge the President to step back from this issue now that he has done what he needed to do, and let the Bureau do its work professionally according to the law,” said Nankhumwa
Chakwera on Tuesday was also not happy with the fact that the Office of Chief Justice and the Office of Speaker of National Assembly were furnished with the same report. The president argued that there is no law requiring the bureau to submit reports to Parliament and Judiciary.
However, Nankhumwa said Chakwera is known for sitting on reports of national importance, citing a report and recommendations on Public Sector Reforms which Chakwera got over a year ago but is yet to release it.
“It is possible that the ACB decided to share the report with other offices fearing that the President would sit on it like other reports, if he is the only one who is given,” said Nankhumwa.
The leader of Opposition in his statement, however, commended Chakwera for taking action against Vice President Saulos Chilima public officers mentioned in the report for allegedly receiving money from Sattar.
“These are obviously the right steps Mr. President, and what Malawians have been expecting in as far as the fight against corruption is concerned,” said Nankhumwa.
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