By Rebecca Chimjeka
Attorney General Thabo Nyirenda has revoked the amnesty he declared early this month.
On January 9, Nyirenda told the nation in statement that he had declared an amnesty to companies and individuals that may have defrauded or helped in defrauding government but are willing to voluntarily surrender the said wealth to do so in 60 days.
The declaration caused an uproar, with some quarters seeing it as a scheme by the government to protect officials in this administration who may have been involved in defrauding the government.
On Monday, in his address to the nation, President Lazarus Chakwera expressed his reservations with the amnesty, saying he was not in support of it.
On Friday, Nyirenda told The Sunday Times that he has revoked the amnesty.
Instead, he said, his office will soon start the process to prosecute 77 cashgate files of companies and individuals that are suspected to have defrauded the government.
“As you might recall, the President directed the Minister of Justice to reconsider the amnesty that I announced. The Minister of Justice reached out to me to pass the message from the State President.
“What I am supposed to do is to implement decisions and policies of Government in a legally accepted manner. In this case, the 60-day amnesty that I announced remains revoked. It is now water under the bridge,” he said.
In his amnesty declaration, Nyirenda he had extended it the 77 cashgate files.
In his address on Monday, the President said although the idea of the amnesty was a campaign promise of the Tonse Alliance as a way of speedily recovering government’s stolen assets.
The move cannot be effected without clear legislative framework that allows it to be implemented lawfully and without appearing soft on corruption.
The President therefore instructed Minister of Justice to work with the Attorney General’s office in designing a sound alternative for recovery of the country’s stolen treasures.