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I was invited as a witness —Atupele Muluzi

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Former United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi Thursday claimed he was invited by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to provide information as a witness in a case related to the allocation of two plots at Bwaila in Lilongwe.

The plots are linked to British businessperson Zuneth Sattar who was arrested in his country on suspicion that he engaged in corruption in Malawi.

ACB summoned Muluzi to the bureau’s offices in Lilongwe where he was reportedly interrogated on the allocation of the plots during his time as minister of Lands.

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The former UDF leader then claimed that ACB was not being impartial and independent in its fight against corruption in the country.

Speaking after leaving the bureau’s offices, Muluzi claimed the graft-busting body is being used by an invisible hand.

“The bureau has a lot of work to do in fighting corruption and should not work on behalf of other forces,” the former Cabinet minister said.

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There was drama at the ACB offices as Muluzi’s sympathisers prevented him from entering the offices until he addressed them.

Meanwhile, social and accountability commentator Willy Kambwandira has condemned the behaviour of the supporters who were apparently speculating that Muluzi’s summoning by ACB was political.

“We want to end corruption but we are using politics to sustain the vice. Perhaps ACB should start coordinating with other law enforcement agencies such as the police to arrest those who cause chaos when the bureau wants to question someone,” Kambwandira said.

He further said those who block ACB from interrogating suspects are most of the times also those who claim that the bureau only arrests and prosecutes the poor.

Muluzi served as minister of Lands from 2015 to 2017 in the Peter Mutharika administration.

In a December 23, 2021 restriction notice, ACB stopped the Ministry of Lands from dealing with properties which it believed Sattar had beneficial interest.

“The restriction notice has been issued as part of investigations by the bureau following allegations that Zuneth Sattar and his agent Ashok Kumar Sreedharan well known as Ashok Nair have been giving bribes to politically exposed persons with the aim of influencing various Malawi government departments to corruptly award contracts to companies belonging to Zuneth Sattar,” the notice read.

ACB arrested former minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa alongside Nair on corruption allegations relating to land deals with Sattar.

Msukwa challenged his arrest and asked the court if the ACB could arrest him based on information from a foreign investigation body after it transpired that the bureau was coordinating with the United Kingdom’s Crimes Investigation Agency in the Sattar-linked cases.

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