By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Chakwera has withheld, with immediate effect, from the office of the country’s Vice President any delegated duties to pave way for the Anti-Corruption Bureau to substantiate its allegation against the Vice President connection in the Zuneth Sattar corruption case currently underway in Britain.
Making the remarks during a heavily awaited National Address held from Kamuzu Palace on Tuesday evening of May 21,2022, President Chakwera said;
“As for the Vice President, his office is unique in that the Constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President, because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters, which I respect. As such the best I can do for now, which is what I have decided to do, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the Bureau to substantiate its allegations against him and make known its course of action in relation to such.”
During the address, where the President highlighted 10 of ACB’ findings, which he isolated from the report, the President has fired the Inspector General for the Malawi Police Service, Dr. George Kainja for seemingly being compromised in his dealings with Sattar.
“The description of how the IG seems compromised is clear in the report, and so I have decided to remove him from office on that basis.” Said President Chakwera while wondering why the Bureau’s report did not contain information or description like the same regarding what exactly the chief of staff for State Residences, Board chairperson of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority did in relation to the five contracts involving Sattar that the Bureau has been investigating.
He further told the nation that the ACB established that between 2007 and 2021, the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force awarded sixteen contracts worth 150 million dollars to five companies belonging to Sattar, faulting the country’s procurement laws by allowing contracts to be awarded to companies without regard to the beneficial ownership to the companies leading into state capture.
Additionally, the Malawi leader said the Bureau has found that a total of 53 public officers and former public officers allegedly received money from Sattar in between March and October, 2021.
“These public officers were specifically from Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Malawi Revenue Authority, Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, Office of the President and Cabinet, Office of the Vice President, Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Homeland Security, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Tourism, State House, Reserve Bank of Malawi, Finance Intelligence Authority, and even the Anti-Corruption Bureau itself.
However in its report, the Bureau has forbidden the publication of the full list by my office or the Bureau, saying that ‘due to the extremely complex nature of the investigations, the ACB is not in a position to release to the general public the whole list of the persons who allegedly received the bribes to allow proper and full investigations to determine their culpability if any.” President Chakwera revealed.
President Chakwera has since tasked the Secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet to work with controlling officers of MDAs where the acts of negligence are said to have taken place as per the findings of ACB, and take appropriate action to discipline wrongdoers while strengthening oversight mechanisms.