When the hunter is hunted: Muckracking on Malawi assets director’s arrest

Since Christopher Tukula is yet to be paraded before the courts (at least as I write this) I think the muckraking community should not be scared by the sub judice scare-crow but question – even laugh at – his arrest.



Look, to borrow the lawyerly verbose, I think the arrest Friday evening of the Assets Director is ‘frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process’.

The ACB says Tukula was interfering with the ‘cashgate’ investigations. And you know how Tukula was “interfering” with the ‘cashgate’ investigation? By instructing his clients how to respond to questions by the ACB!

C’mon, good people, that is why we pay an arm and a leg to lawyers; we hire them to guide us how to answer certain questions, even to keep mum if our answers may incriminate us.

For example, Cashgatress Theresa Senzani was instructed by her lawyers to plead guilty because it was the learned counsel’s considered view that that stance was in her best interests. And, by Jove, she got a light sentence courtesy of ‘not wasting courts’ time’.

Now can ACB accuse Necton Mhura of ‘interfering with investigations’ for instructing Senzani to plead guilty?

By the way, Tukula was implicated by a client. What does that put the trust lawyers have with their clients? Are exchanges between lawyers and clients not supposed to be privileged information? Or excitement to be seen to be doing something about ‘cashgate’ should not make us lose our sanity.

But then anything can happen in Malawi. Maybe I am being naïve to suggest that the ACB is being pedestrian for effecting this needless arrest which will, at the end of the day, just inconvenience Tukula but will eventually amount to nothing.

Maybe we should look at the bigger picture. Remember Tukula is Declaration of Assets Director, the first one for that matter. His arrest, therefore, puts in limbo the future of the newly-established office. As the first Director of Assets Declaration office his core job was supposed to establish the office, recruit staff and start receiving the declared assets for the public to scrutinise on demand.

Now remember the idea behind the declaration of assets by elected or appointed officers is to check whether whatever assets they acquire while in office is commensurate to the perks of their offices.

Maybe someone, somewhere, is uncomfortable with this office and wants to delay its actualisation further. By arresting the Director and slapping him with any funny charges they can dream of, however silly they may be, they will have succeeded in delaying the establishment of the office.

Court cases, even stupid ones, take long. Already the 90 days (three months) by which our elected or appointed officers have to declare their assets is long past. But, with Tukula’s arrest, we are back to Square One; we have no Assets Director.

And so someone may claim they declared their assets but, since there is no substantive Assets Director, you and I may not be privy to those declared assets and may not have any way of inspecting – and questioning – the same.

By the time Tukula will be discharged as having no case, his image will be so battered he may not be able to hold the office. We will, therefore, go back to Parliament to give us another Director – a process that may take more years. By the time we come round to identifying another Director of Assets Declaration we will be in the thick of the next election circle to worry about how much someone is enriching themselves.

And so we will be back from whence we begun. That is Malawi for you where things refuse to move or improve.

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58 thoughts on “When the hunter is hunted: Muckracking on Malawi assets director’s arrest”

  1. The Patriot says:

    Its all about the Assets Declarations, nothing else! But as they say, “you can fool some people some of the time BUT YOU CANNOT fool all the people ALL THE TIME”. No matter how long this process takes, we will know how much our leaders are worth, and any suspected ill gotten wealth will be investigated!

  2. Matatizo says:

    Ralphael why hate the munthalikas anakulakwira chani bwanji ndapepesele mmalo mw awo pepani bwana

  3. Kenkkk says:

    ACB and the intelligence branch or service should have provided PAC with enough information on each candidate before they were interviewed by Pac. If pac had all this information before hand, they could not have picked tukula.

    In a way ACB is correcting its own mistake for not advising pac properly on the candidates. Pac cannot be blamed for this as some people are suggesting.

    I would advise pac that next time you should consult ACB and the intelligence service so that you have enough information on any candidate you interview. It is no good one arm of the govt not knowing what the other arm of the govt is doing on the same matter!!! This is pure stupidity and lack of maturity and coordination.

  4. Bantu says:

    Tenthani asks some valid questions, but he did not need to hastily speculate, let alone conclude, that there is a conspiracy against Tukula. Pertinently, it would have been prudent to gather facts from the ACB and offer a balanced story.

  5. chatonda says:

    Chris Tukula is innocent,his arrest is just to allow thieves continue stealing public money and resources

  6. chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa says:

    Actually if he has been advising cash gate clients then there is conflict of interest here. He is not fit for the post. Please lets face facts.

  7. Shaha says:

    The problem is that Ralph Tenthani writes based on his hatred of the Mutharikas. But look, it was Parliament which employed Tukula and his deputy is Michael Chiusiwa. The Government system on asset declaration cannot stop because of one person. Sorry Ralph Tenthani you can hate Peter but please be sincere and truthful. You hatred is driving you nuts. You are misleading people. On another note I don’t know how Malawi will fight corruption if we keep on backing the accused people like this. We are a sad country who sympathise with cashgaters. By the way mwati lawyer wa Tukula ndi Ralph Kasamabara? Tabwerezaninso mwati ndi Ralph Kasambara? I smell a rat. A big rotten rat here. Awa a Tenthani poti he worships this lady thinks he shld write anything against Govt. Go ahead and show your ignorance and stupidity.

    1. Cashgate 1 says:

      I was about to ask something similar to what has been raised in this your comment. Does it mean Tukula has no deputy to continue running the operations? If he does then its something not to worry unless politics is playing a greater role. Yet to see how things will unfold. Komanso analysis yaolemba/atolankhani enanu leaves a lot to gaps and unanswered questions.

  8. So are you saying this is a deliberate move by some top government officials
    Come out clearly please it seems like you know more than speculated

  9. Mfwethu says:

    If this is the calibre of people we want to employ in our civil service then am afraid the fight on corruption is a lost cause already.
    This man is not fit for the directorship of the office he has been entrusted with, PAC should meet asap and reverse their decision. It doesn’t matter that he has not yet been convicted but his dealings smacks of double standards, maybe he deliberately extended the assets declaration date so that he gives opportunity to the people he was advising to hide their properties, he is a crook this man. His association with the cashgate rs makes him a dubious character!

  10. Bob Phiri says:

    The author has totally missed the point. Wasting our time reading this nonsense

  11. loveness says:

    he will now reveal the truth now much he has stolen together with joice and all government and business community.

  12. ELHAPO says:

    I thought people are arrested in order to ensure that they do not escape and to allow for investigations. In Malawi however, it looks like arresting people is an end in itself. It is a form of punishment. This is why ACB arrests people and then one never hears anything further on those cases. They have achieved their objective.

  13. Joe malengachanzi says:

    This article makes no sense at all.

  14. Mtupatupa says:

    Very gud analysis

  15. Kondwani says:

    we are really a comfused lot, mad and mindless bunch of idiots, what kind of justice system is this? Lutepo has been shielded all along on cashgate now he is in police custody = madness coz we all knew from the onset that he was the main cashgater, now za uyu Tukula, how do you appoint someone whose personage is questionable in the first place? The appointing authority is full of mediocrity! Remember you can fool some of us sometimes, but never all of us all the times, God’s justice will soon catch up with you, shame!

  16. Joyi says:

    Afiti Amenewo Tiye Nawoni.Anthu Oipa Mitimawo.

  17. Dada says:

    And the circle goes on!!!!! We will be in the same spot 10 years down the road

  18. Chemwali chimwene says:

    Lawyers are against justice, the laws are not just, malawi is a lost country. Lawyers are trained to lie, this cashgate will get us nowhere just like chilumpha’s treason case.

  19. Thengo-li-Weta says:

    Mr Tenthani, I have read your article twice. I am afraid to have to tell you that I am now more confused than I was when I first read about Mr Tukula’s arrest.

    After reading your article, I have been left wondering:

    1. What the aim of the article is to Malawian taxpayers and the general public?
    2. Whether any research in the issues you write about was made before writing the article?
    3. Whether the article is based on fact or mere speculation?
    4. How an experienced journalist like yourself (who has in the past championed the cause of poor people) could choose to deliberately misrepresent issues that directly impact on poor Malawians?

    My apologies if I am missing out on the facts of Mr Tukula’s arrest as I rely on information from the press. I admit munthune ndine Mtchona kumudziko ndinachokako kalekale. However:

    1. My take is that the gentleman (Mr Tukula) was hired to protect the government and indeed all Malawians, from people who choose to enrich themselves through profiteering on public money (such as those involved in the so called cashgate). How then does anybody in their right frame of mind (including you Mr Tenthani) arrive at an opinion suggesting that it is right for Mr Tukula to be providing “counselling” to the very group of people that he is hired to take to the dry cleaners in his duties of protecting Malawian public funds? Is that not clear conflict of interest?

    2. According to you Mr Tenthani, what does the law say about anybody (whether a lawyer, policeman, politician, parent etc) hindering criminal investigations by coaching a crime suspect what to say to avoid being exposed? Is that not perverting the course of justice? Is that not a crime in Malawi? No wonder tikumamva zoti ena akubisa mbava mnyumba zawo.

    3. Are you sure Mrs Senzani pleaded guilty to the charges raised against her on account of her lawyer’s advice to shorten her sentence? If you have facts about this, why don’t you forward the same to the rightful authorities as a good citizen of Malawi? Don’t you think that it is high time such lawyers were barred from practice to restore credibility to our justice system?

    Now, about the office that Mr Tukula was appointed to serve. I personally think that you are wrong to suggest that Mr Tukula’s arrest will derail the establishment of this function of the government. Correct me, but I do not share the opinion that such an important department would be left to one man to set up as you put it.

    How could one man, single handedly, recruit all the staff of the department, run all the operations of the department as well as investigate (or validate asset declarations)? I personally think that is not possible.

    My view is that a proper mechanism must have been formulated by parliament as to the functioning of this department so as not to rely on one man. Therefore, Mr Tukula’s arrest will not have much impact to the running of the department.

    By saying this, I am not in any way meaning to undermine Mr Tukula’s capabilities. I am (as other Malawians are) very concerned that Mr Tukula’s dealings with cashgate suspects has exposed that he has a serious conflict of interest that may hamper his effectiveness as a public servant entrusted to bust theft of public resources.

    Mr Tenthani, I can tell you here that If my watchman was ever seen providing doggy people with security details of the very property he is supposed to guard, I would be the first one to drag his behind on barbed wire before his accomplices hit me!!!

  20. Victor Phiri says:

    This arrest is a strategy to delay the process of declaring assets by the politicians.

  21. Pita Munthalika says:

    mwana tukula ni khuluku zedi dala. komanso anapeleka mimba kwa sister wanga mwana osamusamalira…..wadyapo

  22. Livulezi river says:

    Life is full of ups & downs! Komano Zinazi ndi zovuta kuzivetsa!!! You mean the whole State President appointing someone for a good job, only to be arrested within a month of his appointment ????? A Tukula mukanadziwa, simukanalola!!!! Ndiye zateremu zitha bwaaaa?? Mungofikira kuseva ndende kapena mubwerera ku fmb?????

  23. Jombo Tsanko says:

    Mr Tenthani, I think you are either confused or drunk! Which clients are you claiming Mr. Tukula was advising? So, Mr Tukula, who is supposed to be on the government side was advising clients against the government and you do not see anything wrong with that?

  24. innocent says:

    Sounds like Tukula is your relation. So the cashgaters were his clients and was advising them what not to disclose… mulipo ambiri – this is a double edged sword.

  25. mwachibanda says:

    “munthu amasaka nyama;ndipo nyama imasaka munthu,” Du chisiza jnr late

  26. Turpsy says:

    Hahahahaha yeah u av brains

  27. apm says:

    muckracking your guess stands as mine.

  28. Phwetembwe says:

    Someone has advised APM to arrest Tukula to delay APM telling how much wealth stolen he has. APM is cautious knowing fully well that MHC houses will appear in his assets. DPP ndi mbava zoopsa izi pano zaphatikizana ndi tate wa atate wa mbava mnyamata wapatauni Bakili Erson Makolija Muluzi Zinthu zantani? DPP WOYEE!!!

  29. Fwetseke says:

    Thats your opinion thank you but ACB is doing its job.

  30. Nyapapi says:

    Apanso a Tenthani nde mwalemba ndowe! You mean this guy should not be arrested kuti atsegule office basi?

  31. Jane says:

    utesi pera iwe walemba, sukulu siidakupindulile bwanji mudangoononga fees ya makolo anu. on a lay man point of view izo walemba zikuwonetsanso cnflict of interest kale pa chilungamo chake. Iye ali m’boma, client wake adabera boma, akumulangiza mayankhidwe against the same Boma????? Public servant ? how ??? yalakwa basi, musabisalire kuti chanichani, ena sakufuna kupanga declare ayi ndithu pali vuto

  32. nzelube says:

    Mr Tenthani..wait for the courts. you can not be a journalist and a judge at the same time..overzealousness bwanji?

  33. MASEYA says:

    We all know that the ACB z jst trying to fool Malawians that it means business this time around (and ofcoursse trying to impress Ngwazi 3)…….. yet we all know that ACB remains as TOOTHLESS as ever…….and believe u me fellow countrymen, ACB’s success rate will continue to
    remain below 12% in as far as winning legal battles z concerned. They jst produce alot of BARKING sounds yet they cant BITE, USELESS!!!

  34. Nkhawena says:

    Eeee koma ndiye chilungamo chionekadi bt nkhanizi zizikhala ndi zotsatila

  35. KUKHALA says:


  36. Jose wa Lilongwe says:

    according to the article,this Tukula guy is defending his clients who are involved in cashgate.So he advised them on how to answer to the ACB guys.Then the ACB call this tempering with the cashgate cases.What are lawyers called for as someone’s defendant in a case.I think lawyers are there to advise the people they represent to avoid the situation where by a client is pushed here and there due to lack of knowledge in law.

    The masterminders of his arrest want to delay the declaration of their assets as this goes against their plans they might have put in place.Very sad and counterdevelopment indeed-when the hunter is hunted,what next?

  37. Achimwene says:

    No comment for now until when I read the charges. The journalist may be have jumped the gun too early

  38. Grant nkhoma says:

    Send a thief to catch a thief

  39. handsome says:

    well articulated by am forced to not rush and comment. after only reading your write up, can we know please. what exactly that client. as you put it said to the authorities. for them to effect the arrest. I assume this same caution or fears you have should have lingered which I believe did in their minds before netting a high ranking official. If they simply picked. him on an unsubstantiated evidence then it leaves a lot desired. he has to be compansated for the defamation suffered. suggesting he indeed poked. into the evidence which he is not privy to then stern measures should be meted out immediately. we need sanity and logical conclusion in these cases. the delays are simply adding salt on wound. innocent citizens who comply with tax. authorities. have. been duped. for enough time.. you are caught. stealing. a duck damn 15yrs in a cooler.. you are found guilty by public servant siphoning millions. 36months eeeish My Gosh!!! bottom line. one day we shall all be answerable to One Creator who knows no evil and accepts no bribes, his judgement never impaired and shows no partiality.

  40. ujeni says:

    Corruption in the legal fratenity in Malawi is deep

  41. BigMan says:

    The only thing that refuses to move or improve in Malawi is you Raphael Tenthani, you are obsessed with trivia and fantasy.

  42. The Truthful One from the West says:

    As a lawyer Tukula knows that it is a tort to maliciously procure a warrant of arrest. Through his lawyer Mr Tukula obtained an injunction against the warrant of arrest which was discharged by the court after hearing both sides. Since the Court discharged the injunction I am sure the Court was convinced that there are reasonable grounds to procure the warrant of arrest. That is the Court did not find the procurement of warrant of arrest frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process. If Mr Tukula is acquitted then as a lawyer he knows that he can sue for malicious prosecution if he is convinced that there were no reasoble grounds to prosecute him. I do not therefore believe that his arrest is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process .

  43. NYAKWAWA says:

    Ngati amachita interfere ndi cashgate case ndiye tingamukhulupirire bwanji kuti sadzachita interfere ndi katundu wa anthu omwe aba chuma cha boma?

  44. some of the assumptions you have highlighted in your article shows bias on Tukula. But it is not wisdom to stand on podium to discredit the ACB or assume otherwise.

  45. Nobel says:

    Steve your straight to the point. Its politics at play. We may not be entirely wrong to speculate that its DPPs ploy to incapacitate tnis office. If it was a different political party yes, but not with DPP. If govt was really serious to prosecute cashgste cases it could have started with the 92 billion kwacha. These guys will not declare their assets neither will Tukula’s office function. Really the hunter is also being hunted by professional and well armed hunters.

  46. mmihavani says:

    Inu kulemba kwanu kwa nkhwizi kwatitopetsa. Remember you read english and chichewa at college and not law. Leave legal issues to lawyers. Do you know that there are limits to how the lawyer instructs their clients? A lawyer should not help a client to defeat a course of justice. A lawyer should not help a client to conceal evidence. Nobody is above the law. Wait until he is formally charged then you can comment. Your sentiments in this write up are premature.

  47. kukukuki says:

    This is true angotiyenga apa

  48. Quota system says:

    To me it sounds as if perpetrators of this arrest do not want to declare their assets or not ready to do so.

  49. Dick says:

    It seems Raphael has gone too far as to be a writer, an investigator and a judge!! Leave the rest to the courts

  50. John says:

    Wait minute now. Please Tenthani tell us that you are just pulling our leg on Tukula’s charges( wait, but if you are not, why do I sense some irregularities in how law is practised in Malawi). Is that really the case? That he was instructing his clients who are under investigation how to answer Qs? Now am very confused. Ralph is under cashgate investigation, but he is still representing clients on the same cases? Now Tukula is holding a higher public office, but also representing clients who are under investigation by the gvt? No wonder the big people are finding reasons to squash him. Someone please shoot me!

  51. Denga denga says:

    Tamamanganani mutiuza ine ndikukamwa kachusa wanga ku chipwilikiti

  52. Namandwa 3 says:

    The problem with this pathetic nation the daniel.never his asserts did he, Hell no just after 800 days the nation competely forgot the devil daniel phiri and company and if thats not enough we mandated them again not only to plunder our economy but to even enslave us, kill us divide us and all sorts of no rubbish w

  53. eye eye says:

    Ralph, I guess Tukula has a deputy who can do the needful, not so? You seem to be defensive suggesting that u have details of the charge, is it?

  54. Baba wa Boyi says:

    At it again.

    Are there rules the same for private and public servants?

    Is someone in the postion of Tukula allowed to continue in private practice?

    So if say, Chilima was Tukulas client before he became incharge of asset declaration, it would be Ok for Tukula to defend Chilima in case of an infringement?

    And these are people that inform the Nation.

  55. petrol kali says:

    hahahahahahahaha man tukula

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