Section 13 of the Constitution is committed the country to “introduce measures which will guarantee accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity and which by virtue of their effectiveness and transparency will strengthen confidence in public institutions”
In conformity with this commitment, Government presented a Corrupt Practices Bill No 18 of 1995 which Parliament passed in December 1995. It was amended in 2004.
The Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) is a government department headed by the Director General assisted by the Deputy Director General who are both appointed by the President but whose appointment is subject to ratification by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament.
Other officers of the Bureau are appointed by the Director General following normal recruitment procedures. The finances of the Bureau are charged to the consolidated fund.
The Director General is subject to the direction and control of the Minister (of Justice) on all matters of policy, but otherwise is not subject to the direction or control in the performance of his professional duties and, by law, reports to the President.
The Director General is required to submit an annual report to parliament through the Minister. The first Director General and Deputy Director General officially took up their positions on 1st March 1997. The Bureau commenced full operations on 9th February 1998.
Currently while the core ACB mission is to spearheading the fight against corruption in Malawi through prevention, education and law enforcement, it has been revealed that the current ACB under the directorship of Martha Chizuma has never secured any win to any case at the moment.
Despite the organisation having a clear vision of having an institution that promotes integrity and good governance towards attaining a corruption free Malawi, the question is how do we attain free Malawi if people who were involved in corruption dubbed Cash Gate are still scot free.
Even those involved in corruption during Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime are free.
This now makes sense why the organisation produced a substandard report to the President when the leadership was asked to do that.
While the ACB continues
to blame the Director of Public Prosecutions
(DPP) for its failure to prosecute high-level
corruption cases, our reporters have gathered the Bureau is failing to act on 150 cases whose
consents were already given.
ACB and DPP have recently been at loggerheads over guaranteeing of consent to two of the cases the ant-graft bursting body is pursuing.
However, revelations that the Bureau is ‘sitting on’ 150 cases whose consents were already given have raised concerns that while the ACB Director General has been complaining
that the DPP Dr. Steven Kayuni has been
withholding consent for two cases, one of them
involving former Minister of Lands, Kezzie
Msukwa, there is nothing much indicating
movement on the consents already given.
“About 100 consents were issued by the previous DPP and about 50 consents were received from the incumbent DPP Dr Kayuni. Apparently, nothing much signifying commendable progress is being done with the 150 consents. Therefore, the argument of withheld consents is a very small bush that the ACB is trying to hide in,” said one parliamentarian who is also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the House.
He added: “The ACB also added limited resources on the hiding bush. But reports are that the bureau has now received a further increment on resources. Maybe we will begin to see improvements. Until then, from where I am standing, there is more to the prevailing lack of
progress at ACB. And that something answers to competence, particularly its lack.”