Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda says he maintains that amnesty was a viable and faster way to recover government resources.
In January, Nyirenda issued a 60-day amnesty for companies and individuals that may have defrauded or helped defraud the government to pay back what they had taken from the coffers.
But the declaration caused an uproar, with some quarters seeing it as a scheme by the administration to protect officials in this administration who may have been involved in defrauding the government.
He withdrew the declaration.
But speaking to Malawi News, Nyirenda said he only rescinded his decision because Malawians were against it.
“I changed my mind because people were against it so I had to do what the people wanted. They did not want to recover through that means but I still stand by what I said. That was a well-researched strategy and I had studied examples. I have been a defence lawyer and I know financial crime cases are very complicated and for one to get evidence is not an easy task.
“So, if you say that you are going to prosecute 1,000 people you are assuming that in a year you will have cases almost every day with judgments. That is not possible. Cases take long, even as long as five years. Now if each and every criminal case is taken to court it will take us such a long time and a lot happens in between. So, all I can say is that I stand by my opinion and that time will vindicate me,” he said.
Among others, Nyirenda said as the year is coming to an end, he is optimistic that government will beat its K50 billion collection it pledged earlier this year.
“We will manage the figure come December in fact one case will help us to meet that December deadline. We should be able to meet the deadline. This I am so confident of. When we are talking about recovering money for the government we are also talking about the recovery of assets. We are confident that we will beat our target,” he said.
Nyirenda was appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera in August last year replacing Chikosa Silungwe.