Opinion: Martha Chizuma should speed up corruption cases

Malawians’ hopes and aspirations of cracking down corruption were astronomically raised when Ms. Martha Chizuma was appointed to the post of Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on 29 April 2021 after serving as Ombudsman since 2015.

In her capacity as the Ombudsman, Ms. Martha Chizuma was well known for her impeccable performance in investigating any cases, without fear or favour, where it is alleged that a person has suffered injustices. It was therefore not surprising that Malawians had expectations of Martha to crack down corruption.

Frankly speaking, Martha Chizuma has all the arsenals to tackle corruption. Firstly, her educational background is just impressive. Martha holds a Masters of Laws in International Economic Law from the University of East London and Bachelor of Laws with Honors (LLB) from University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Secondly, she has a wide experience in investigating injustices when she was the Ombudsman.  This skill can easily be transferred to corruption investigation. Thirdly, Martha Chizuma Mwangonde boasts of over 20 years of experience in litigation and adjudicating cases as a legal counsel, principal resident magistrate or assistant registrar of the High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme court of Appeal.

Unfortunately, under the tutelage of Martha Chizuma, no tangible corruption case has been logically concluded. It appears that once a corruption suspect has been apprehended and charged, that is the end of it all. Many Malawians are losing trust and confidence in the ACB as the body is no longer seen as fighting corruption but a smokescreen to perpetrate corruption.

There is a litany of overdue corruption cases growing dust in Martha’s office. Some of them are cases involving Bakili Muluzi, Saulos Chilima, Paul Mphwiyo, Enoch Chihana, Nicholas Dausi, Joseph Mwanaamveka, Dalitso Kabambe, Prince Kapondamgaga, George Kainga, Zunet Sattar, Mwabi Kaluba, Reyneck Matemba, Suzi Banda and Newton Kambala. This list is not exhaustive.

Then there are also some cases that ACB needs to investigate and come up with a formal statement. For instance, Eisenhower Mkaka, Secretary General of the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was allegedly involved in corruptly acquiring Mercedes Benz from Zuneth Sattar.  Unfortunately, a year after ACB said it would investigate the matter, there is no formal statement from the ACB. Many more cases need further investigations.

It is therefore imperative now that Martha Chizuma owes Malawians an explanation as to why corruption cases are taking too long to be tried in court and finally concluded.  Martha Chizuma should come into the open and present a practical schedule on how the mature corruption cases are to be finalised. Otherwise, there are fears that Malawi is losing the corruption fight under the tutelage of Ms. Martha Chizuma as the ACB Director General.

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