The National Assembly has today passed the Corrupt Practices Amendment Bill which, if assented to by President Lazarus Chakwera, will give the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) authority to prosecute anyone suspected of corruption without seeking consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Speaking after the passing of the bill, Member of Parliament for Likoma Ashems Songwe who brought the private members bill to Parliament last week said he is happy that the bill has passed and this means Malawians have won.
“My sentiments are that as lawmakers we have the service to the Nation and Malawians have made their point very clear on where they stand regarding the fight against corruption, a drive that the state President has been advancing and my sentiments have won today,” said Songwe.
The amendment involves deleting Section 10 (1) (f) and Section 42 of the Corrupt Practices Act. Section 42 makes it a requirement for ACB to obtain consent from the DPP before instituting prosecution of cases while Section 10 (1) (f) says the ACB may prosecute any of the cases under the act but such prosecution is under the direction of the DPP.
However, under Section 99 of the Constitution, the DPP may take over and continue or discontinue any criminal proceedings instituted by any person or authority.
On whether there is a need to amend Section 99 of the Constitution, Songwe said amending the constitution is unnecessary because there is no any inconsistency.
“Because we have still retained the supreme powers that the Director of Public Prosecution has in the Constitution section 99. All we have done is to enhance the efficiency so that ACB can progress with their prosecutions without any further delays,” added Songwe.
In his remarks Government Chief Whip, Jacob Hara, said the development augurs well with what President Chakwera promised Malawians.
“The President promised to fix the broken systems that have derailed the country’s development. The bill seeks to consolidate that piece of the manifesto,” said Hara.
Members debated on the bill and the whole House was in support of the motion to enhance the independence of the Anti-Corruption Bureau so that it can prosecute anyone without seeking consent from the Director of Public Prosecution.
Members agreed that corruption has derailed the country big time and now is the time to turn around the status quo.