Chakwera accused of controlling ACB


The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) announced last month that it would arrest four people in connection to the Zuneth Sattar corruption case but the suspects are yet to be arrested, leading to fears that President Lazarus Chakwera is controlling the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says it is strongly feared that President Chakwera’s heavy political influence has culminated into arm-twisting of ACB director general Martha Chizuma.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa made the remarks at a press briefing today in Lilongwe.

On 24 June, the bureau arrested former Inspector General of Malawi Police George Kainja and Deputy Commissioner of Police Mwabi Kaluba on allegations that they received 8,000 (about K8 million) and US$20,000 (about K20 million) respectively from Sattar to award his company a contract worth US$7,875,000 (about K8 billion).

Namiwa noted that after the arrest of the two, the ACB’s chief legal and prosecutions officer Victor Chiwala publicly told Malawians that four more arrests, in relation to the same alleged corruption scandal, would follow within days.

It was suspected that one of the persons earmarked for arrest was Vice President Saulos Chilima but the four suspects are yet to be arrested.

Namiwa (L) speaking at the Press Briefing

Namiwa said there are suspicions that Chakwera intervened in the work of the ACB.

“It is for this reason that CDEDI is reminding madam Chizuma that Malawians have put under the microscope any action and word from the ACB, and there are some glaring traits of political manipulation in the way the bureau has been conducting its business lately. We can safely speculate that the appointing authority has put spanners in the works of the bureau as regards the promised four more arrests,” he said.

CDEDI in its statement has also faulted Chakwera for not taking part in events and activities that were lined up to commemorate the Africa Day Against Corruption which falls on July 11 every

According to Namiwa, it was a missed opportunity for both the President and the ACB Director General Martha Chizuma, who should have taken advantage of the ceremony to rekindle and raise the hope in Malawians that a corrupt-free Malawi was possible.

He noted that the day was commemorated exactly seven days after CDEDI wrote President Chakwera on July 4, 2022, reminding him to re-affirm his commitment towards walking the talk on zero-tolerance on corruption, as per the fourth pillar of his Super-Hi5.

CDEDI’s letter was a reminder to the President to honour his promise on trimming presidential powers by, among other means, directing the office of the Attorney General (AG) and the Law Commission, to start the amendment process of Section 91 of the Constitution.

“By scrapping off presidential immunity, Dr. Chakwera would not only have delivered on one of his flagship campaign promises, rather he would have also made a bold statement that he was not entangled in any corruption scandals that have rocked the country in the two years of his leadership, as some quarters fear.

“CDEDI and, indeed, many well-meaning Malawians, therefore, expected the President to seize the opportunity of gracing the Africa Day Against Corruption open day activities held in Dedza, to declare total war on corruption by announcing that he has moved the system to amend Section 91 of the Constitution, which shields first citizens from criminal prosecution while in office,” Namiwa said in the statement.

CDEDI through Namiwa has since reminded Chakwera that he has six more days to act on Section 91 of the Constitution, or brace for nationwide demonstrations to force him to start honouring his flagship campaign promises.

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