The sloppy approach by the Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma in the investigation over the illegal use of the former Head of State Peter Mutharika’s TPIN by his aid, threatens the future of the case with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr Steven Kayuni expressing concern that the case may collapse all together.
In a letter to Chizuma, the DPP has admonished the head of the graft burtsing body describing her approach to the case as an embarrassment and disappointment to other law enforcement agencies in the country.
The letter dated July 19, 2022, which we have seen, has exposed Chizuma’s incompetence and selfcentredness whereby she has opted to pursue her own angle to the matter departing from what other law enforcement agencies agreed.
Kayuni expresses worry that her “embarrassing” approach could derail or collapse the case and other cases connected to the matter including the “unexplained wealth charge” against Muntharika security aid Norman Chisale in which the state is pushing to have the his property confiscated.
“We reckon to state that your approach in this matter has embarrased other law enforcement agencies, leaves a lot to be desired and a disappointment to the agencies with a potential of derailing the ongoing Unexplained Wealth Charge on NPC (Chisale), that we had earlier of requested for an update,” says Kayuni, in the letter copied to the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General, the FIA Director General, MRA Commissioner General and the Inspector General of Police.
The DPP says while the state has tried to work on the TPIN case in a coordinated strategy involving his office, the ACB, Malawi Police Service (MPS), Finance Intelligence Authoririty (FIA), and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), for her own reasons Chizuma opted to withdraw from the ongoing trial and decided to take her own angle.
Kayuni expresses concern that Chizuma made this decision despite being advised during a special meeting in February 2021 against it considering that the TPIN case had already gone into case and that Fiscal Police in collaboration with MRA had already made headway with investigations.
“We further advised that there was a likelihood of a clash and thus the need for ACB to cross-check with MRA and Fiscal Police investigators on all the sticky issues,” says the DPP while stressing that his letter was not meant to apportion blame to anyone but ensure that the case in back on track and state agencies are working as a single unit.
He adds: “There is only one State Prosecution Director and the state agenies move in concert not silo. There is no need for cometition or an attempt to out-smart each other or torpedo ongoinmg trials. The embarrassment that emanated from cashgate investigations and prosecution on clashes between ACB and other law enforcement agencies are replete with lessons and need for state agencies to work as a team.
No single state agency can win a fight against criminality, it is always a joint effort regardless of independent working arena. With the way ACB has conducted itself lately, it is clear that there was no cross-checking. Madam Director, our minds and acts are at cross-purpose here. ACB is on one side starting a matter on TPIN and other agencies are on the other side with an ongoing trial on the same TPIN.”
Kayuni explained that Chizuma’s approach has led to a confusion where by only Roza Mbilizi and Mukhito are the accused on both sides while the other accused on the ACB list were state witnesses for the other agencies.
“A further complication and embarrassment to the State agencies is that of Norman Paulosi Chisale and MRA managers. Your good office investigations have NPC a state witness while in the Cementgate/TPIN he is an accused person number 3. Worse still the three MRA managers are witnesses in Cementgate/TPIN while your good office have named them as accused persons.
“Madam Director, it is impossible to process prosecution in Court on both files with this strange and allien approach. It is a basic tenet in criminal prosecutions that you do not prove a case through mere allegations and without witneses,” writes Kayuni.
In the letter the DPP is commenting on a proposed joint meeting of all agencies involved in the TPIN case as suggested by the ACB Director General, and Kayuni expresses concerns that while he sees the suggested meeting important, he was worried that the same ACB missed another strategic meeting involving all stakeholders in the case.
“We reiterate that the April 2022 meeting was a meting ACB and its investigators should never have missed. The fact that ACB and MRA had at some point romanticised the idea of jointly looking at the TPIN issue in relation to the former State President was clear that this matter has the pitfalls and trappings that need investigators ro speak to each other continuosly,” says Kayuni.
He added: “As overall in charge of prosecutions in the country, we urge your good office to pursue what other law enforcement agencies are currently doing that is adherence to the Law Enforcement Coordination Strategy regardless of our independent legal frameworks. Ours is service to Malawians and we cannot afford disarrays or outwits. We can do better and we need to do better.”