The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has refused to investigate and prosecute cases of suspected fraud at country’s embassies, arguing they are not corruption related.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is auditing the country’s embassies following directive from President Peter Mutharika who is reportedly ‘furious’ with the fraud at Malawi mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that saw over K184 million stolen.
A preliminary audit report reveals that over K184 million might have been stolen covering a period of 12 months, implicating deputy Ambassador, Doreen Kapanga and first secretary for administration and finance, Fletcher Chowe, who have since been suspended and recalled from mission.
And ACB has refused to jump on the issue despite it been within its mandate.
According to Corrupt Practices Act, the bureau has powers to examine practices and procedures of public bodies and private bodies in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices and secure the revision of methods of work or procedures which in the opinion of the bureau may be prone or conducive to corrupt practices.
But in an interview with Capital Radio on Wednesday, ACB’s Senior Public Relations Officer, Egrita Ndala said the reported issue is fraud in nature and the bureau could not pursue it.
“Our role as ACB is to handle corruption matters. Since the said issue is bordering on fraud allegations, it’s in the mandate of fiscal police. If we receive a complaint on allegation of corruption, we investigate and prosecute such matter,” explained Ndala.
ACB was established in accordance to Section 13 of the Constitution that calls for introduction of measures which will guarantee accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity and which by virtue of their effectiveness and transparency will strengthen confidence in public institutions.
And the Corrupt Practices Act empowers the bureau to make comprehensive provision for the prevention of corruption; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.
The fraud reported at Malawi’s Embassy in Addis Ababa has been liken to Cashgate scandal through which over K20 billion of public funds were defrauded from government’s accounts under former President Joyce Banda’s two year rule.
ACB has been handling the Cashgate cases which are fraud in nature. Several notable faces including lawyers and politicians have been nicked by the ACB in relation to the Cashgate.
The fraud at Malawi’s embassy in Ethiopia was first detected when Chowe allegedly wrote a cheque of US$30,000 in his name and the cheque was signed by Kapanga.
Meanwhile, government has recalled its envoys from Kenya, Zambia and Japan and relocating some at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation instituted reforms in embassies.
Government has since recalled 82 diplomats from the country’s foreign missions and plans to reduce the number further by the end of June next year.
There are 19 Malawi foreign missions of which eight are in Africa, four in Europe, five in Asia in addition to the United Nations mission in New York, United States of America.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :