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ACB ups graft busting drive

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The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said it has instituted preliminary investigations on a number of issues that are being reported on social media on corruption and abuse of office relating to a number of public institutions.

ACB Director-General Reyneck Matemba said the bureau is treating all information being posted as crucial and that its officers are working to find its merit.

“It is true that for the past 12 days, we have seen an influx of information on corruption and abuse of office relating to a number of public institutions. We are compiling that type of information and we are treating it as tips, intelligence. We have a complaint review committee and they are taking note of that,” Matemba said.

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He added that currently, a number of preliminary investigations have been instituted but refused to divulge more, saying that would jeopardise the work as some of the people involved are still working in the institutions.

“I would urge Malawians to keep on pushing and throwing that type of information; it is proving quite helpful. We are closely working with other law enforcement agencies since some of the information that we are receiving falls outside our mandate. We have opened a number of case files. Matters that fall outside our mandate are being referred to other agencies,” Matemba said.

He also admitted that ACB was failing to investigate corruption cases because of political interference.

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“Political interference comes in different ways. The most common and preferred way of politically interfering with our work or operations has been to cut or delay our funding so that we fail to commence, continue or complete our investigations.

“My own experience with political interference has been that if politicians know that they can’t politically interfere with your work, in the sense that they know that you can’t accept to be told what to do or what not to do, they will simply make sure that your work or operations are affected by cutting or delaying your funding,” Matemba said.

The Malawi Police Service has also recently made several arrests of some officials including Malawi Revenue Authority Deputy Commissioner General Rosa Mbilizi, Democratic Progressive Party Ward Councillor Isaac Jomo Osman and businessman James Chuma. Twelve police officers were also picked for their alleged involvement in the death of Lule Buleya.

When asked why the arrests are happening how in such large numbers, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera insisted the arrests are for various reasons.

“I cannot generalise because these arrests are on separate issues,” Kadadzera said.

He said Mbilizi was still in police custody by the time we went to press yesterday.

The arrests have angered former governing party Democratic Progressive with its Publicity Secretary Nicholas Dausi charging that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) administration is just trying to frustrate and weaken the opposition.

“It is political persecution by the MCP government, just to make sure that they deal with DPP so that they don’t have a strong opposition. But they have to know that multiparty democracy is here to stay and nobody can be subdued,” Dausi said.

But various observers have brushed aside the persecution claims, saying if someone committed a crime, it would be ridiculous to let them go scot free simply because someone would deem their arrest witch-hunting.

 

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