Delays in amending existing laws will force President Lazarus Chakwera to appoint the next Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) director-general, despite his earlier pronouncements that he would love Parliament to be appointing ACB directors-general.
During his inauguration five months ago, Chakwera said he would propose legislation to reduce powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and ACB.
But, as the contract of the current ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba expires, Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Chairperson Yusuf Nthenda said they were yet to get any communication in relation to any changes to the law.
“Currently, the power still rests with the President to appoint the director of Anti- Corruption Bureau until such a law is amended.
“Maybe it’s because of the festive season. Committees will start meeting from January 4. Maybe, at that moment, we will see something when we go to Parliament. If the director is to be appointed now, it means we are going to follow the present law,” he said.
Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo also said they were yet to get communication on the matter.
“What I heard is that three names will be submitted to the President and, then, he will pick one and then it will come to Pac for confirmation. We have not gotten any information regarding the same.
“But we, as a committee, what we are trying to do is to invite the outgoing Director- General so that we hear from him [about] some of the challenges and we recommend how to move forward. Otherwise, we do not have any communication that we will use the existing laws or not. Maybe, as we get to January 4, that’s when we can get more information,” Chitsulo said.
The Corrupt Practices Act of 2004, in Section 5 (1), gives the President powers to appoint the director, and adds that the appointment of any person as director shall be subject to confirmation by Pac.
When asked on the progress made so far, The President’s Press Secretary Brian Banda said Chakwera was waiting for pieces of advice from relevant legal offices.
“Chakwera is keen on making sure that the proposals he made towards reducing those powers of the presidency that stifle the development of our human capital, our governing institutions and our citizen’s supremacy are followed.
“He has made his stand public and will wait for law enforcement bodies to advise and give direction,” Banda said.
The current ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba was appointed as boss in November 2017 and has served on the position until December 1 2020.