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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Anti- Corruption Bureau should not relax

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There is no denying that for now the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) has made news for the right reasons.

The bureau finally moved to arrest former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, Trans-globe Export Produce Limited Director Rashid Tayub and Grain Traders Association Chairperson Grace Mijiga Mhango for allegedly offences committed in the procurement of maize from Zambia by Admarc to the matter.

Development practitioners recommend, among others, to eliminate graft and corruption to meaningfully move Malawi forward.

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So while it is expected that ACB was set up for busting graft and corruption in the country, the public is relieved that some imposing figures suspected of abusing their office and standing in society for personal gain will be made to answer charges.

But more worrying is what ACB itself has noted.

The graft-busting body’s failure to move with speed on matters that appear to harbour all ingredients of corrupt practices has been, to say the least, baffling.

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ACB has a long list of cases of corruption that remain hanging.

It is time the bureau worked hard to regain trust of Malawians – which it accepts has waned with time – by finalising investigations with speed and arresting the suspects.

Gathering dust, for example, are the 13 case files from the K577 billion-now-K236 billion Cashgate forensic audit report.

Days are going but we are yet to hear of an arrest or recovery on the same.

Then there is the Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion fraud case.

How a case instigated and prosecuted by competent professionals has delayed but not trashed defies all logic.

The tempo in tackling Cashgate cases has slackened. The current narrative suggests ACB is not only infiltrated by bargaining opportunists; it is internally and externally manipulated.

But the arrest of the three accomplices in the Admarc saga and the speed it will take to reach to the matter’s logical conclusion is good starting point for ACB to rebuild trust in the public

Otherwise, corruption will continue to dent the country’s image and Malawi will not only continue looking at its neighbours with admiration while its leadership and unscrupulous citizenry use the meagre public resources to live sumptuously but continue to slip further down on the corruption index.

It rests on ACB to change the status quo.

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