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Pac damns police on graft arrests

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Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has accused Malawi Police Service (MPS) of stalling investigations into corruption-related cases, claiming that the development has led stakeholders to question whether law enforcers pounced on the suspects in good faith.

Pac—in its 2020 analysis which Chairperson Monsignor Patrick Thawale and Publicity Secretary Bishop Gilford Emmanuel Matonga signed on January 4—says this is in sharp contrast to cases where Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials arrest those suspected of indulging in corruption.

“ACB’s arrests swiftly moved into the court system though with challenges in accessing funds from the Treasury. On the other hand, the Malawi Police Service arrested a couple of people with a strategy to undertake further investigations.

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“Pac observes that while ACB arrests have had some movements into the court, arrests by Malawi Police Service have had little progress, a development that has cast doubt as to whether the latter arrests were made in good faith. This remains a gap in the fight against vices that border on incidents of corruption and abuse of office,” the statement reads.

Pac has also called for the discontinuation of former president Bakili Muluzi’s corruption case allegedly involving K1.7 billion.

It argues that public expenditure on such a prolonged matter is huge, adding that the tendency to activate such a matter for political gain had been a dent in the pursuit of the rule of law.

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“In this regard, we strongly believe that Muluzi’s case involving K1.7 billion be discontinued and a political solution should be sought as it has been a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We question the rationale of spending taxpayers’ money in [sic] such matter which has not yielded results in the past 14 years. Pac is of the view that the matter is discontinued through dialogue in a bid to secure a political solution,” the letter reads.

The quasi-religious grouping has, however, pointed at some positives registered in 2020, citing what it describes as triumphs of the legal system and people’s will.

Pac said the court outcome on the fresh presidential election case renewed public confidence in both the legal and electoral systems, and changed the narrative on the insurmountable difficulties involved in overturning presidential election results within and beyond.

“Malawi particularly took pride in the realisation of 50 percent+1 electoral reform strongly advocated by the Public Affairs Committee in 2017. In this regard, the Pac Board of Governance observes that the [High Court working as] Constitutional [Court] and Supreme Court rulings signified a triumph of Malawi’s legal system and the will of the people as enshrined in the Republican Constitution,” the statement reads.

On reforms, leadership, and accountability, Pac notes that the Tonse Alliance-led administration has appointed too many presidential advisers, further observing that the President Lazarus Chakwera Cabinet does not reflect the 40-60 gender rule of public appointments.

“In the same sphere of leadership, Pac wishes to take pride in assessing the working relationship between the Head of State and his vice. This has been an issue during previous regimes. We note that the political posture between the two leaders in alliance looks good and would like to encourage such a leadership path. Accountability demands sticking to what was pledged to the voters that the two would work together for the betterment of Malawi,” it reads.

However, when contacted for MPS’ side of the story, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said he could only comment once he saw the assessment paper.

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