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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Anti-Corruption Bureau needs more than cash

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We should ordinarily raise our hands in the air and celebrate the “achievements” of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) this financial year for handling and processing 900 corruption complaints.

The bureau says a total of 200 cases were investigated, out of which 116 were completed.

It says, out of the completed cases, 30 per cent were recommended for prosecution, 66 per cent for closure and 4 per cent of the cases were referred.

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ACB Director, Lucas Kondowe, rattled all these figures as he made his case in Lilongwe on Wednesday to convince members of the Legal Affairs and Privileges committees of Parliament to back his K3.6 billion budget to merit approval when Parliament goes into Committee of Supply.

To put the icing on the cake, this budget is K1 billion more than what the bureau received from Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe last financial year.

There is no question in our mind that ACB needs all the money in the world to deliver on its mandate which is to fight the big bad guys who are responsible for lining up their pockets with over 30 percent of our budget through corrupt means.

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But we just think the ACB needs more than just money and the view that cash only will do wonders in fighting corruption, as Gondwe seemed to suggest when he presented the budget last Friday, is ignoring the central issue that has undermined this fight over the years.

This central issue, in our view, is the persistent denial, so pronounced even at the highest level of the DPP administration, that corruption is not as pervasive as most stakeholders hold, coupled with ACB’s lack of operational independence.

Simply put. ACB is under the armpit of the Executive which directs it on who to go after and who not to go after.

Until the day when ACB will be released from the yoke of a controlling President and government, Malawians should forget about any real fight against corruption and all the bureau will be doing, with all the cash taxpayers give it, is to be platonic and its efforts will not be far reaching and, as we have seen, there will always be sacred cows and untouchables.

All the figures that Kondowe rattled on Wednesday are empty figures in the imagination of those who concocted them with nothing real and substantial on the ground as the real corrupt in our country get protection and VIP treatment.

We insist money is not all the ACB needs.

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