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Anti-Corruption Bureau to pursue criminal elements in regional polls

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James Kadadzera

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has warned of further action on findings of bribery and corrupt allegations surrounding the nomination process of elections for three regional football associations.

The graft-busting body stopped the polls in November last year after reports of widespread corruption levelled against the incumbents.

ACB immediately instituted investigations into the matter and released a statement on Wednesday after completion of the probe.

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In the statement, ACB directed that there be fresh nominations for the elections.

The body’s deputy director general, Elias Bodole, said other issues would be handled accordingly.

“We will pursue all criminal elements discovered during our investigations to their logical conclusion,” Bodole said in a written response.

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In a letter released on Wednesday, ACB found that there were irregularities including forgery of nomination forms.

“The nomination forms were forged as those purported to have signed them disowned the signatures. There are no set guidelines for the conduct of free and fair nominations. District football associations did not convene meetings or in some cases the meetings were not properly convened to nominate candidates for regional elections since few members attended.

“Current office-bearers in the regional football associations, who were interested in being nominated, were conflicted in that they influenced the nomination process by sidelining eligible non-regional committee members, thereby imposing themselves on the district football associations,” part of the statement reads.

In the statement, ACB did not mention the member associations implicated in the forgery of nomination forms.

Southern Region Football Association Chairperson Raphael Humba said they would wait for guidance from Football Association of Malawi (FAM).

ACB has also recommended that Malawi National Council of Sports and Fam affiliates should develop guidelines for conducting free, fair and transparent nominations.

Football analyst George Chiusiwa said officials implicated in forgery should face the law.

“Those involved in forgery should face criminal prosecution or administrative sanctions including barring them from taking part in the election as they have brought football into disrepute,” Chiusiwa said.

Forgery is a felony under the laws of Malawi.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said they were yet to get recommendations from ACB on the matter.

Before the elections were halted, Austin Ajawa was set to retain his seat as CRFA chairperson unopposed whereas Simeon Lijenje was expected to battle with Goodall Chinjoka for the post of vice chairperson.

Treasurer Pyson Likagwa withdrew from the race on personal grounds, leaving Mike Tembo, Charles Selemani and Mwela Gondwe to battle for the post.

In the Northern Region, incumbent Chairperson Lameck Khonje was also expected to go unopposed after he secured nominations from all the districts.

Humba was also expected to retain his seat unopposed in the Southern Region alongside his entire committee

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