The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) might be closer to get former Malawian outspoken cabinet minister Patricia Kaliati following revelations that the corruption busting body is now working with the International Police to handle corruption cases that crosses borders.
Kaliati was implicated in a corruption scandal in 2007 when she was Minister of Tourism after she dubiously authorized an award of a contract for the Nyika-Vwaza Ecotourism Reserve Concession to a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company with strong links to that country’s loyal family.
The contract was awarded soon after a high powered Malawi delegation led by Kaliati visited UAE on the invitation of the royal family with everything paid by that country’s government.
However, the ACB has been failing to conclude investigations after the UAE government has not been cooperative to provide any information on the matter arguing that the Bureau has no jurisidiction to probe matters that happened in that country.
Addressing journalists in the capital Lilongwe Thursday ACB Director Rizine Mzikamanda disclosed that in a drive to deal with such bureaucratic bottlenecks in international investigations, the Bureau has signed an agreement with the International Police to assist the bureau with cross-border investigations.
Mzikamanda also said apart from Interpol the bureau is also working closely with the United Kingdom’s Scotland Yard to also assist the bureau in cases that have an international dimension.
The press briefing was ahead of the launch of the bureau’s Corruption and Fraud Prevention Policy; Client Service Charter; Strategic Plan; and the redesigning of its websites.
According to Mzikamanda one of the issues that these instruments, which will be launched on September 5, will be addressing is to ensure speedy processes in investigations and prosecution even for cases that are international in nature.
ACB has been for a long time facing delays in investigating and concluding cases a development that at times raises questions on the integrity of the bureau especially when faced with cases that involve political figures.
One of the classic example is the Kaliati case .
“We have to admit that we have been having delays in some cases because of sytem failure but now we will be able to increase our abilities. Some cases have also been delayed because of the international dimensions to the cases,” said Zikamanda when asked if the launch of the new instruments will mean anything to the Kaliati case.
He added: “Now we have signed an agreement with the international police (Interpol) and other international partners to assist us with investigations in such cases. And these documents will also help us to move more quickly and come to the conclusion of some of the cases as quickly as possible.”
On his part ACB Assistant Director for Operations Victor Banda explained that the agreement with Interpol means that the ACB is one of the investigation agencies internationally which are part and parcel of Interpol.
“We are now registered in the Interpol and the Interpol will be handy to assist us if we want any information from other countries. With the British Police or Scotland Yard it means that the Police in that country will also be able to assist us fish out any information to strengthen our cases,” he said.
Banda said such links were vital because normally some cases fall off because the ACB lacks tangible evidence to convince foreign banks or other agencies to provide information while the current arrangement means that he Interpol and Scotland Yard will be assisting the ACB to get informal evidence before going formal.
During the ACB’s probe one of those who accompanied Kaliati to Dubai, Lilongwe South East legislature Willard Gwengwe who was then chairperson of the of the Parliamentary Committee on Tousrism and Trade denied having received any bribes.
Gwengwe, however, admitted that everything ranging from air tickets, food and accommodation was bankrolled by their hosts except for about K70,000 that he got from the Malawi government.
The MP also said he only knew that some Dubai investors were interested in the Nyika-Vwaza concession after he had returned from the trip.
He insisted during their trip nothing to do with the Nyika-Vwaza concession emerged. Gwengwe and Kaliati were the only politicians on the trip and the rest were government officials.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :