Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo says the Tonse Alliance administration has improved the investigative and prosecutorial capacity of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) by hiring more lawyers and investigative officers.
Mvalo was speaking this morning during a press briefing held together with Minister of Information Gospel Kazako.
According to Mvalo, the Tonse Alliance came into power at a time when the ACB had 12 lawyers and the current administration has so far hired 17 new lawyers, taking the number of ACB lawyers to 29. He further said that Government also hired four private lawyers who work with the bureau.
The minister added that the current administration found 29 investigators at the bureau and has added 19 new investigators to improve the ACB’s investigative capacity.
He argued that some cases are lost by the bureau due to weak investigative capacity. On this, Mvalo argued that it is also important to accept relevant evidence from outside the country and use it in cases in Malawi.
“All evidence which is relevant is admissible in court regardless of how it was obtained except in cases where torture was used. But even if evidence was stolen, it is allowed in court,” said Mvalo.
The press conference was being held days after President Lazarus Chakwera assented to the Corrupt Practices Act which gives the ACB power to prosecute cases without seeking consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Mvalo said the new law will come into effect after it is gazetted by the Government and he suggested that the publication of the gazette will be done this week on Friday.
“With this amendment, we expect that the ACB will be able to quickly take cases to court,” he said, adding by urging the Judiciary to speed up corruption cases.
Speaking on the issue, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako said the new law means the ACB can no longer complain that cases are being delayed due to failure to obtain consent from the DPP.
“All the focus is now on the ACB and it is our hope that they will use this law with responsibility and in accordance with the bureau’s ethics,” said Kazako.
ACB’s director of prosecution Chris Khunga said the bureau is currently handling over 80 corruption cases and there are about 30 cases which have commenced since the Tonse Alliance came into power.
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