The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) hopes to resume investigations, from its end, of the cement gate case involving former president Peter Mutharika during the first quarter of 2023.
The bureau has said it decided to take a backseat following a clash of action between itself and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the matter.
In July this year, DPP Steven Kayuni accused ACB of working in isolation on the case when it arrested former Malawi Revenue Authority officials who were alleged to have been using the former president’s Tpin.
Speaking during a press briefing in Blantyre, ACB Director General Martha Chizuma said the bureau had paused its actions as it was waiting for clarification of the issues that arose with the office of the DPP.
“That case involving TPIN for the former president is in two parts; there is a part that was being investigated by the police which is the cement side and the other part which ACB was looking at, which is all the inputs/ goods that were bought using the TPIN so if you remember, the police finished their investigations earlier, they made arrests and the case almost started or was at preliminary stages at the High Court and for us, we came a bit late.
“And it was after we started making arrests on that matter that there arose an issue of confusion that was created by our action with the office of the DPP so that is when I said we pause our actions, waiting for the clarification of those issues with the office of the DPP…we have tried to do that and now we are done and we will be communicating to the DPP on the proposed way forward from the bureau. We hope to proceed with the case in the first quarter of next year, seeing as this year is almost at the end,” she said.
Chizuma further said according to their review of cases they handled this year, those they investigated and the ones whose investigations were completed rose by 62% and 27% respectively compared to the previous year.
According to the Bureau, a total number of 36 cases were recommended for prosecutions in 2021/22 and 33 cases in 2022/23 and 3 convictions were secured in 2021/21 and a single case is ongoing.
“Total cases whose investigations were completed in 2021/22 were 151 and the same are in progress. Total cases prosecuted in various courts were 83 in 2021/22 and 84 in 2022 and in progress. Total cases awaiting judgement (cumulative) were 14 in 2021/22 and 19 in 2022/23.
“The milestone was attained due to strategic leadership on the law enforcement mandate of the Bureau, intensified implementation of recruitment drive that resulted in the recruitment of 26 officers (11 investigators and 15 prosecutors) as well as improved coordination between Investigation and Prosecution Sections whereby each investigation team is assigned a prosecutor on the onset of a case under investigation,” she said.
Meanwhile commemorations of the International Anti- Corruption Day in Malawi this year will take place in Kasungu on December 9, the commemorations will be held under the theme “fight corruption; protect Malawi’s future”.