President Lazarus Chakwera has appointed Ombudsman Martha Chizuma as the new Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), subject to Parliament’s confirmation.
Solicitor General Reyneck Matemba—who is the immediate-past ACB boss—confirmed the development Wednesday.
He said: “I can confirm that we have received a letter of recommendation from the President; remember that Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo sent names of successful candidates to the President for his endorsement.”
Chizuma’s name was among the three sent to Chakwera after an interview conducted by Paramount Chief Kyungu, Media Council of Malawi chairperson Wisdom Chimgwede, activist Kossam Munthali, Matemba, Christopher Guta, from the private sector and Dumisani Banda from the Department of Human Resource Management and Development.
Chizuma is expected to appear before the Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament which will make the final decision on whether she should ultimately get the post.
Lingalireni Mihowa, who is Country Director of Oxfam—one of the organisations fighting for the strengthening of governance institutions and reinforcing the fight against corruption—said Chizuma is a capable leader whose appointment has come at the right time.
“The nation has seen her work as Ombudsman and we know that with the right environment and adequate resources apart from independence of the office, she will be able to deliver,” Mihowa said.
She further indicated that her organisation is happy that the number of capable women in strategic leadership positions is increasing.
Meanwhile, Pac chairperson Joyce Chitsulo Wednesday confirmed having received official communication from the Office of the President and Cabinet on Chizuma’s appointment.
Chitsulo disclosed that her committee will be interviewing the appointee on May 11.
“The process of interviewing Chizuma will take a day and we will come up with our decision basing on her credentials and what the Corrupt Practices Act says regarding the engagement of the Director-General,” she said.
Chitsulo hinted that her committee may not spend much time scrutinising Chizuma’s suitability as she recently appeared before it where she was being confirmed on her renewed contract as Ombudsman.
After graduating from Chancellor College, Chizuma joined the Judiciary as a Senior Resident Magistrate and was based in Mzuzu.
She worked in the Judiciary for nine years before switching to the private sector by joining Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company as the firm’s lawyer for four years.
In 2015, Parliament approved her appointment as Ombudsman, the post she is holding to date.
She has been hailed several times for revolutionising operations of her office and taking on public officers who act contrary to the requirements of their professions.