Malawians will have to wait indefinitely before they know the truth about the case in which former Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha is accused of misreporting the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) foreign exchange reserves.
Mwanamvekha, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspiring presidential candidate alongside other accused persons such as former RBM Governor Dalitso Kabambe and Thyolo Central lawmaker Ben Phiri, was arrested on 7 December 2021 on charges of abuse of office and fraudulent false accounting.
The former Secretary to the Treasury in the DPP government and Kabambe are accused of having provided wrong information to the International Monetary Fund to paint a picture that Malawi Government was meeting conditions for the award of $108 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in 2019.
However, since their arrest in December 2021, there has been no progress in the prosecution of the case.
In an interview on Friday, National Police publicist Peter Kalaya asked for more time to establish the stage at which the case is.
Recently, like-minded civil society organizations – National Elections Systems Trust (NEST) and Pan African Civic Educators Network (PACENET) – expressed concern with delays by the prosecution authorities to conclude cases.
NEST Executive Director Unandi Banda, weighing in on delayed prosecution of corruption cases by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), expressed sadness that 18 months into office, the Bureau’s Director General Martha Chizuma had not galvanized the capacity of the graft-busting body to make it achieve its intended targets in the fight corruption.
Banda observed that Chizuma’s tenure has, this far, been riddled with both administrative and legal blunders that have rendered the ACB incapacitated and ineffective for the cause at hand.
“NEST is troubled with the lack of proper strategy by Director Chizuma in fighting corruption as she has relied on creating fear across the board. The ACB has resorted to wanton arrests that yield nothing more than a single court appearance followed by deafening silence.
“To make matters worse, her recent report to His Excellency the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on corruption suspects was rightly labeled as half-baked. True to that labeling the ACB has failed to undertake proper procedures to either prosecute or clear those it mentioned as wrongdoers. What this has done is destroy the livelihoods of those mentioned as they continue to face social and economic sidelining by society,” he said in a statement issued last week.
On her part, PACENET Executive Director Olive Mpina feared delays in prosecuting cases of politicians have potential to negatively affect their campaign for presidency both at party and national level.