By Deogratias Mmana:
New Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director-General (DG) Martha Chizuma has disclosed her immediate task at the graft-busting body, which includes institutional restructuring, review of cases and making Malawi feel uncomfortable with corruption.
The Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament confirmed Chizuma as ACB DG on Monday after rejecting her last week.
Chizuma told The Daily Times that she only has three years to prove to Malawians that she can deliver in the fight against corruption and, as such, she does not have time to waste but get to work immediately.
She said that she would prioritise cases that could bring back money to the government.
“I shall look at the caseload [and] my focus will be [on] cases that have evidence and from where we can recover Malawian public funds. That is something that I am very passionate about— getting back the money through investigations and prosecution of these cases.
“I don’t know the caseload now but I need to sit down and look at the cases and see how we can have a proper strategy and tackle cases that are there,” Chizuma said.
She disclosed that another priority is to make Malawians feel uncomfortable with corruption.
“I want to make this country feel uncomfortable with corruption. As it is, it is like it is now part of our lives. So, I would want to see to it that Malawians start feeling uncomfortable about corruption. There are many things we can do in that regard,” she said.
Chizuma added that she would have to analyse the structure of the ACB and put the right people into corresponding positions for her to deliver within her tenure of office.
Asked to give the caseload at the ACB, its spokesperson Egrita Ndala said she needed time to do so.
As Chizuma gets into the new position, Malawians are still in need of answers to some scams, including the sale of the presidential jet whose proceeds are still misty and the $50 million tractors loan from India, whose repayment started in 2017 through to 2042.
Reports indicate that some Cabinet ministers and government officials benefitted from the initiative.
Malawians also still look forward to convincing answers surrounding the sale of Malawi Savings Bank to FDH Holdings Limited.
Recent reports also indicated that Constituency Development Fund allocations were abused by members of Parliament.
While working as the Ombudsman, Chizuma investigated cases of maladministration reported in public institutions which included Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi and Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority.
In her investigations, she gave directives that saw some officials relieved of their duties.
Chizuma has taken over from Reyneck Matemba, whose contract expired and was relocated to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs as Solicitor General and Principal Secretary.
Latest Global Integrity Anti- Corruption Evidence Project findings reveal that efforts to recover stolen assets and inflict financial punishment have had a degree of success, even though the recovered assets fall well short of the sums that have been misappropriated.
“Generally, the recovery of stolen assets has proved to be time-consuming and difficult,” the report reads.