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ACB ready with police food ration case

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Ernest Thindwa

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is ready with the prosecution of high profile cases such as the infamous food ration scandal that unravelled at the Malawi Police Service involving businessperson Zameer Karim and three others.

This is a case in which former president Peter Mutharika was implicated before he was quickly exonerated by the graft busting institution.

The other ones include the attempted bribery of judges in which business magnet Thomson Mpinganjira was implicated and a case involving the illegal sale of land in Lilongwe, allegedly by former Lilongwe City mayor, Desmond Bikoko.

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Speaking to Malawi News, ACB Director Reyneck Matemba said they were done with other high profile cases such as the one involving politician Uladi Mussa when he was Home Affairs Minister and former Mzimba Hola legislator Christopher Mzomera Ngwira which are awaiting judgement.

Matemba highlighted that the new Tonse Alliance led government has clearly set the stage for effective fight against corruption, thereby creating favorable environment for law enforcement agencies such as the ACB.

“Political will is not only a critical factor in the effective fight against corruption, it also sends a strong and clear message to the citizenry and to potential looters of the Treasury that government will not shield, tolerate or condone criminality at any level,” he said.

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He was quick to add that political will creates enabling environment for institutions such as the bureau to operate independently and in accordance with the law without having to worry about the risk of facing repercussions for doing the right things, or being subjected to political interference or pressure for lawfully discharging our work.

“Officers feel motivated to work and serve the public because they know that they have the support and good will of political leaders,” Matemba said.

Chancellor College based political analyst Ernest Thindwa has however said what the ACB is informing the nation is inherently contradictory.

“On one hand, the bureau chief claims he could not effectively deal with corruption cases because the appointing authority lacked political will and on the other, he was willing to cling on to the job when he knew he could not deliver on high profile cases…He was certainly complicit to official corruption for maintaining his position yet failing to bring to book perpetrators of high profile corruption,” Thindwa said.

Thindwa said ultimately, Matemba is conceding that he cannot deal with high profile cases if there is no political will but will nonetheless maintain the job.

The ACB has been under heavy criticism from the general public for a tendency to ‘sweep under the carpet’ cases involving high profile officials, including those connected to the ruling elite.

Malawi is said be losing over 30 percent of its budgetary allocations to corruption, fraud and theft.

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