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Chief Justice weighs in on assets recovery

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Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda has reiterated that Malawi needs to move fast in recovering all assets that were stolen through corruption and fraud.

According to Mzikamanda, the Judiciary is ready to speed up cases involving financial crimes.

He announced plans to identify judges who can speed up cases involving financial crime as Malawians await the establishment of the Financial Crimes Division of the High Court.

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Parliament amended the Courts Act to provide for the division which will speed up the prosecution of such cases apart from assisting Malawi to recover stolen assets.

“We need to recover all assets that have been exported from this country through theft and corruption, because once those resources are returned, they will assist in the provision of various social services such as drugs in hospitals.

“The Judiciary is ready but as you know there are other players such as the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP], The Anti-Corruption Bureau [ACB] and other law enforcement agencies that need to play their part,” the Chief Justice said.

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He then called for collaboration in the fight against corruption for the good of the nation.

“There is nothing personal in the fight against corruption,” Mzikamanda said.

He was speaking in Blantyre yesterday at the start of a two-day Judiciary Asset Recovery Trainer workshop, which was attended by ACB Director- General Martha Chizuma and DPP Steve Kayuni and judges.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), organised the training which also saw the launch of the asset recovery handbook.

Comesa Head of Governance, Peace and Security Elizabeth Mutunga said asset recovery has been the weakest point in the fight against corruption in the region.

“That is why we want to strengthen the region’s ability to recover assets so that those found in the wrong are not able to enjoy proceeds of their crime,” Mutunga said.

Adviser on UNODC’s Global Programme against Money Laundering, Atuweni Agbermodji, said the region has been struggling to recover assets involved in financial crimes.

“Most law enforcement ends when the culprits are sentenced without realising that crime is done for benefit and taking the benefit out of the crime is also a major step,” Agbermodji said.

Among others, the State has managed to recover some assets from Cashgate convicts apart from getting vehicles involved in charcoal trafficking.

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