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Anti-Corruption Bureau bosses in cold war

Reports have emerged that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) top bosses—Director Lucas Kondowe and his deputy Reyneck Matemba—have developed a bad working relationship, a thing which is hampering operations of the bureau.

Inside sources confided in The Daily Times that the relationship between the two officials has soured of late and that they no longer hold meetings together as was the case before.

The sources also stated that the two operate in isolation which in the end also divides some of the bureaus staff members.

However, the two have quickly moved in to dispel the reports.

In an interview, Kondowe described his working relationship with his deputy as excellent, saying reports that there is sour relationship between the two are only but an exaggeration.

Kondowe said: “My relationship with Mr Matemba is excellent and I don’t know who your sources are but you guys need to focus on issues of substance if this country is to develop. In fact, I was on the phone with Mr Matemba a few hours ago and we also spoke again in the morning, we were discussing some other things.”

On his part, Matemba said on a professional level, he has no issues with his boss and that their relationship remains cordial.

But social commentators in the country have said the problems at the ACB are glaring stating that of late, the bureau has failed to impress due to such in-house squabbles.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Executive Director, Timothy Mtambo, has insisted that there is dirty politics at the institution which he said is denting the credibility and independence of the bureau.

“Actually, there has never been a time the ACB has been more politicised than now. The political and professional shame happening at the institution is fast eroding Malawians’ trust in the body we once thought would be key in entrenching transparency and accountability in the country.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) National Coordinator, Martin Chiphwanya, said divisions at ACB compromise the fight against corruption and make the country prone to more corrupt practices.

“While it is normal for people to disagree over technical issues, it is totally unacceptable to hold the ACB machinery at ransom over differences emanating from purely irreconcilable egos involving individuals. ACB leadership should demonstrate high levels of professionalism by putting their house in order and serve Malawians.

“Unfortunately, when top leadership fights, it negatively affects the morale and vigour of the entire machinery as subordinates tend to align themselves to camps. 52 years after independence, this should not be condoned,” said Chiphwanya.

Recently, the media also quoted Matemba distancing himself from being consulted in a case in which his boss is rocked in controversy over a K6.8 billion office complex contract with Malawi Energy Regulatory Body (Mera) boss Ralph Kamoto.

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