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Lazarus Chakwera, Martha Chizuma’s tough corruption talk

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President Lazarus Chakwera has emphasised that corruption is evil and reiterated his commitment to deal with the vice and that he will not shield anyone in his government who gets caught up in such acts.

He was speaking during the commemoration of international day for the fight against corruption held at Kasungu community ground.

The Malawi leader said no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much it costs, and no matter how long it takes, he will never give up in the fight against corruption.

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“Fighting corruption is also fighting for our humanity, because corruption destroys our umunthu. That is why I want all Malawians to learn this new Umunthu anthem as a reminder that fighting corruption is fighting for food for orphans and widows, medicine for the sick, and education for young people,” Chakwera said.

The president said the government will break corruption cartels since those involved in the vice are complicated.

“Even though Malawi’s corrupt empire is stuck with us, we are still fighting,” Chakwera said.

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He cited the death of Issa Njaunju, a high ranking official at the ACB, who was murdered, in 2015 but without an investigation as an indication of how deep rooted corruption is. The case is now in court.

He also cited the death of Bob Mtekama, a former top investigator in the Malawi Police Service, who was investigating the Njaunju death as another evidence of how deep rooted and connected corruption is.

“Bob died under suspicious circumstances and we were once again reminded that our fight against corruption is a fight against people who do not even care whether we live or die. But today, Bob’s death is also being investigated and is in court because even though Malawi’s corruption empire is ready to kill to continue stealing from Malawians, we are not afraid,” Chakwera said.

The president commended Anti-Corruption Bureau Director Martha Chizuma for her courage to fight corruption. He urged her to fight on for the sake of Malawians although her Tuesday’s arrest was designed to intimidate and humiliate her.

“Martha is my champion against corruption. Those of you who tried to intimidate her should know that you have failed,” Chakwera said.

And like an uncaged bird, the ACB chief told the President and the rest of the officials present, particularly those that have a thing for corruption that the bureau and its hierarchy will not cower to attempts by anyone to silence or intimidate them in the course of discharging their work.

“You might think that because you wield the axe of power then you’re above the law…you’re only deceiving yourselves,” she pointed out.

Chizuma added that with an army of about 19 million Malawians that have full confidence in the course, the country can win the fight against corruption.

She said the bureau is ready to pick those involved in corruption regardless of their status in the country adding that her officers will not be intimidated because they are serving the interests of the public.

“Every corruption report will be investigated and culprits will be brought to book at any cost. Efforts by individuals to discredit the bureau and cripple its functions will only make the bureau stronger,” Chizuma said.

She said the impact of corruption cannot be overemphasized. She said the bureau has a list of ill-gotten wealth which it is still investigating and assured Malawians that such wealth will be turned to them.

According to Chizuma, the cases the bureau is prosecuting have gone over 27 percent.

Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo pleaded with public officers to desist from corruption.

Member of Parliament for Kasungu Central where the event took place, Ken Kandodo, said corruption is a cancer that needs to be put to the end at all cost.

“Corruption hinders the development of the country hence need to be tamed,” Kandodo said

Meanwhile, the United Nations in Malawi has commended the government for prioritising the fight against corruption and drawing attention to the negative impacts of corruption.

The UN office urges the government to continue to do more to empower anti-corruption institutions and strengthen accountability, transparency and ethics systems and mechanisms in public institutions.

In a statement marking the International Day against Corruption, the UN has commended the ACB and its Director-General for bringing renewed drive and energy to the fight against corruption and encourages Malawians to stand and support the bureau.

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