Anti-Corruption Bureau hopes for progress on Sattar related cases
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it is currently waiting to commit Vice President Saulos Chilima’s alleged corruption case involving UK-based businessperson Zunneth Sattar to the newly-established Financial Crimes and Economic Court.
ACB arrested Chilima on November 25, 2022 and charged him with six counts of corruption for allegedly receiving a $280 000 (about K290 million) bribe from Sattar to secure government contracts.
In a response to a wide-ranging questionnaire, ACB’s spokesperson Egrita Ndala said the bureau is dealing with the cases.
“So far, the Bureau has investigated three cases under which nine people were arrested and taken to Court. These cases are those involving the Hon VP which is currently awaiting committal to Financial Crimes Court,” she said.
Ndala said the case involving former Inspector General of Police George Kainja and former Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa are waiting for judicial review and appeal against a judgement respectively.
“The case involving former IG of Police Dr George Kainja and others is currently awaiting ruling on application for leave to apply for judicial review and the case involving Hon Kezzie Msukwa and another is awaiting the hearing of appeal against the judgement of Justice Kapindu on admissibility of evidence from UK. Other cases are at different stages of investigations,” she said.
Msukwa was arrested in June last year on allegations that he facilitated illegal sales of land to Sattar at the time he was Minister of Lands.
He is alleged to have received millions of kwacha and a vehicle for the deals.
Kainja was arrested on June 23, 2022 for allegedly receiving bribes from Sattar to influence the awarding of a contract to him to supply 350, 000 food ration packs.
Regarding how the Bureau will execute its duties in this financial year following the passing of the 2023-24 National Budget, Ndala said the bureau would like to put more focus on asset recovery.
Ndala said the Bureau believes that this is one of the quick ways to bring justice to victims of corruption and punish perpetrators of corruption.
“Accordingly, we have set up a team of lawyers and investigators whose main job is to focus on asset recovery. As mentioned earlier, late last year the Bureau decided to put more energy into asset recovery.
“The Bureau has obtained preservation orders for several properties and has since applied for their final forfeiture back to the government. These being court processes, we cannot say when the process will be completed. But we are doing all we can to ensure that on our part, the processes go through as quickly as possible,” she said.
Regarding the budget allocated to the Bureau, Ndala said fighting corruption demands a lot of resources such that the funds allocated to the Bureau in the 2023-2024 budget are, again, not enough, especially when considering the inflation and rise in costs of various commodities.
“On the other hand, we appreciate the hard economic times the country has been going through even before Cyclone Freddy which has made it worse.
“The Bureau will ensure that the allocated resources are used prudently to achieve the best results possible,” Ndala said.
Moses Mkandawire of National Anti-corruption Alliance said corruption is rampant in the country and that efforts from the Bureau ought to be appreciated.
He said naturally most of the cases take time to conclude.
“As a country, we need to know that it is not a one-man’s job. As the citizenry we have to play our part in ensuring that we defeat this corruption problem,” he said.