The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has refused to release details on the action it has taken or plans to take against former minister of Tourism and Culture, Rachel Mazombwe Zulu, who has been implicated in Cashgate by her then Principal Secretary Treza Senzani.
Senzani, who is now serving a three-year sentence for her role in the Cashgate, told ACB how she used her company to siphon money from the Tourism Ministry.
She then said she delivered the loot—K20 million—to her boss, Mazombwe Zulu, who Senzani said was in turn allegedly told to solicit campaign funds from the ministries by former president Joyce Banda for the May 2014 elections.
When asked what the ACB has done to the allegations so far, ACB’s spokesperson, Egrita Ndala, said she was on holiday while the Bureau’s Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, refused to give details.
“We have had that statement for more than a year and we also have leads on so many people. We, however, cannot say at what stage we are with our investigations,” said Matemba in a Tuesday phone interview.
When contacted, the implicated former minister kept cutting our calls.
Asked how the Bureau would react if some quarters view this yearlong ‘inertia’ as fear of big fish, Matemba said that would be “very unfortunate” and that the Bureau is fearless.
“We are not afraid of arresting any person involved in Cashgate, why should we? Why do we exist then if we fail to discharge our mandate of law enforcement?
“What the people of Malawi should understand is that the Cashgate scandal is a complicated matter. The people that were involved or that were behind the theft of the government finances were not ordinary or petty thieves. They knew that what they were doing was criminal; as such, they did everything within their powers to cover up their tracks, to destroy any traces of evidence in order to conceal their criminality.
“In order for us to uncover all that, we also have to be very elaborate, meticulous and thorough. Otherwise, we will fail the people of Malawi, and we are not ready to do that,” said Matemba in a later WhatsApp response.