ACB claims not enough evidence in Muluzi case: Law for Malawi party funding debate rages on

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Lucas Kondowe has said the graft-busting body is seeking direction on  the trial involving former president Bakili Muluzi and has up to Friday to  inform the High Court the course of action.

Muluzi: Case has dragged for 11 years

Muluzi: Case has dragged for 11 years

Muluzi, who ruled the southern African country between 1994 and 2004, and his co-accused, his former personal assistant Lyness Violet Whisky,stand acc used of diverting at least US$ 13 million of what the State had claimed was donor money meant for various government development projects to his personal accounts.

He denies the charges, and vehemently alleged they were pressed on him for political persecution by his successor Bingu wa Mutharika.

According to ACB boss,  the graft-bursting body  simply has no objective material evidence that Muluzi was siphoning from state coffers during his decade as leader of the nation.

According to Africa Confidential publication, in early July Kondowe took the unusual step of visiting media houses to explain that after lengthy enquiries costing billions of kwacha, there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case against Muluzi.

Muluzi, 73, was first arrested in July 2006 accused of diverting $11 mn. in funds that had been gifted by Libya, Morocco, Kuwait and Taiwan.

Lead prosecutor and Kondowe’s deputy, Reyneck Matemba, recused himself on 5 May 2016 from the Muluzi case on “personal grounds”.

Kondowe claimed to have consulted three previous ACB directors – Gustave Kaliwo, Justice Rezine Mzikamanda and Alexius Nampota – on the Muluzi case and draw conclusion that the case isn’t strong enough.

Malawi infamous cashgate took place under their watch: Late Bingu (L), Banda (C) and Mutharika Looting took place under their watch: Late Bingu (L), Banda (C) and Mutharika - Photo credit The Nation

Malawi infamous cashgate took place under their watch: Late Bingu (L), Banda (C) and Mutharika 

The ACB boss stressed there is no political hand in the direction of Muluzi case, saying bureau is an independent institution that  makes independent decisions – a point backed by Malawi Law Society.

Meanwhile, according to local press,  debate for  enactment of a legislation obliging political parties in Malawi to disclose their private financiers to deter  parties from obtaining funding from “dubious” sources.

Such a bill championed by Centre for Multiparty Democrcat (CMD) was already submitted to Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in January this year.

“The absence of legal frameworks governing private financing of political parties is a huge deficiency in a democracy for although money is an asset in politics, it can at the same time be a liability. The relationship between money and politics remains one characterized by contention and controversy in every democratic state,” argued political analysts Dr Augustine Magolowondo  in an  article published by Nyasa Times.

“It is not only the question of access to resources that can skew and endanger the democratic play field; it is also how those resources are acquired, who provides them, under what terms and how they are used that is equally critical. As the saying goes, those who pay the piper call the tune.

“ It is very likely for a party to be held at ransom by those who finance it. In the worst case scenario, it is even possible to have a party in power that is remotely controlled by actors outside it and whose (actors’) interests are inimical to society at large,” Magolowondo further argues

He states that Malawi is in an urgent need of a “clear and robust” legal framework that will ensure that party financing does not degenerate into a liability to the democratic cause.

A constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo, who is lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, agreed on the need to have  a robust legislation on political party funding, as he is quoted by The Nation saying it is the empowerment of the citizenry – and the media – by improving their access to public information and thus their knowledge  of the “strings” behind the political parties.

Patrick Zeus Phambala, a Lilongwe-based political and social commentator, proposes the establishment of a political party funding regulatory body which, in his view, would widen public interest in the running and overall ownership of parties.

According to Phambala, unregulated party funding is responsible for the demigods in political parties.

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Joy Mpo
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Joy Mpo
1 month 16 days ago

Tangozisiyanipo izi, zakukanikani kale, ndiliti lija

Chechamba
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Chechamba
1 month 16 days ago
Take the case to the end, let the learned Judge (Kamwambi) rule on the case.Dont hide behind party financing.You mean UDF as a party did not have a party account? We were told Press Corporation belonged to Kamuzu but UDF managed to find some laws to grab it and form Press Trust.Do you know where Kamuzu got the money to start Press Corporation? You mean Kamuzu did not have well wishers and it is only Muluzi who had well wishers as preisdent? One wonders why Kondowe has created his own trial of the Muluzi case outside the court systems? Is… Read more »
KOMA KUMENEKO
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KOMA KUMENEKO
1 month 16 days ago

Damages tsopano ……………. tax payer ali pamavuto

Youna
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Youna
1 month 16 days ago

ACB must be abolished. Its only bringing shame to our nation.

mwahenga
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mwahenga
1 month 16 days ago

The ACB is joking. If Muluzi is let free, then the ACB should just close offices because it is a useless organization. How can you say there is not evidence to prosecute Muluzi? Muluzi was earning less than 1 million a month for so many years. How come he was found with 1.7 billion in his account? His businesses were barely surviving. Where are his businesses today?
If anything, Gustva Kaliwo should have been roped in.

There is politics going on here.

dzikondianthu
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dzikondianthu
1 month 16 days ago

Atcheya woyeeeee! Wakula munthuyi musiyeni apume

Joseph Banda
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Joseph Banda
1 month 16 days ago

Iwe the so called Analyst, you must learn to follow issue. It the same ACB director we read in the paper saying he was read, consultant all the previous Directors and told them where he was not comfortable. Kodi iwe Analyst BM anakydyera chiani?

Chips
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Chips
1 month 16 days ago

Ine ndakhala ndikudziwa kuti kunali kuwawopa atcheya mwagwanayo

The Analyst
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The Analyst
1 month 16 days ago
O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O Something must be wrong somewhere . . . . . . You have previously been parading this Muluzi in court; was this done without any evidence? . . . If Lucas is new, why not check with his predecessors, the evidence Muluzi was previously taken to court on? . . . Or Khondowe would want to tell us he’s wiser than his predecessors; hence this easy realisation? Ha! . . . And how long has this case been going on for, if not more than 10 years? . . . Now, did it have to take 10 or 11… Read more »
Chititimbe
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Chititimbe
1 month 16 days ago
Everyone who loves this country would love to see the ACB being completely independent. However, what the Chakhwanthas and the Kamulepos of this world wanted was not to make ACB independent. They wanted the ACB to be under their control. How, then, can you call that the independence of the ACB? The executive and the legislature are run by politicians. Moving the ACB from the umbrella of the executive to be under the legislature cAnNot make the ACB independent, or can it? This will not change anything at all. May be I have misunderstood your comment. But if you are… Read more »
The Analyst
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The Analyst
1 month 16 days ago
O…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O Truth is, nobody and no any organisation is ever independent of everybody in this world, in toto . . . . . . independence, at any point in time; is therefore always relative, either more or less. Nonetheless, if reference is made to Lameck Salamange’s article of 31 July, 2016; on the need to place the DPP manifesto in the fiction section of Malawi’s libraries; independence is defined and I quote . . . ” . . . the Director of the ACB will be appointed on merit, through a special public appointments committee . . . .” If… Read more »
Chititimbe
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Chititimbe
1 month 15 days ago
Of course you are right that it’s easy to tell that the ACB is more independent not under one man. But both of us know pretty well that in Africa, no MP is independent of their block. If you belong to opposition, for example, you act according to what the opposition leadership dictates and not what the people you are representing want. The same can also be said of the MPs who belong to the government block. The end result is that the parliament becomes one man’s show depending on the block that enjoys majority in that five year period.… Read more »
November Rain
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November Rain
1 month 15 days ago

Chititimbe, I think Analyst is right. ACB is more independent under a committee than a president. Although thre may be abuse in both cases, the extent of the abuse is different. In my opinion, I think being under one person makes the person abuse ACB as he likes, unlike a committee which canT always agree to abuse ACB. since independence is relative as said by analyst, under a committee, ACB is more independent.

ndakuona
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ndakuona
1 month 14 days ago
Inu Mr November, Chitimbe is right and we cannot trust Parliament to be controlling ACB. The best way to ensure independence of the ACB is to appoint its directors and senior officials the way we do with the judges of the High and Supreme courts. Give them conditions of service similar to those of the judges, i.e. that they can only be fired through two thirds majority votes in Parliament. That way the ACB directors will feel secure and will strive to act independently the way our judges try to do. But to leave ACB under the current opposition or… Read more »
Giling\'ande
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Giling\'ande
1 month 16 days ago

Sheee koma Analyst…..mwati handbag kikikikiki

Noxy
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1 month 16 days ago

I knew that there won’t be any evidence in this case coz it can’t take 15 years to get evidence from transactions of such nature.

wpDiscuz