Malawi’s anti-graft busting body, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday arrested an Asian business tycoon and Director of Transglobe Export Produce Limited, Rashid Tayub in connection with the government’s procurement of maize from Zambia which suspected to be shady.
ACB Director General Lucas Kondowe confirmed in an interview Wednesday afternoon that the Bureau had arrested a business magnate in relation to investigations on procurement procedures of maize from Zambia by Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC)
Malawi President Peter Mutharika in January ordered an investigation into a $34.5 million government maize order, after a Zambian opposition leader said he had seen documents showing Malawi had been charged $345 per ton for 100,000 tonnes of Zambian white maize worth $215 a ton.
“I can confirm that our officers arrested a business man following the Bureau’s intensified investigations involving the procurement of maize in Zambia,” said Kondowe after just hours after picking former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda in Blantyre.
Kondowe said the ACB is doing all it can within its constitutional powers to bring anyone suspected to be involved in corrupt practices in the country to book adding that the bureau works independently and investigates all cases before it in accordance with the law.
“As a Bureau we are doing everything within our mandate to ensure that we bring to justice any individual or organisation involved in corrupt practices. We are serious of rooting out this cancer which is eating up the very fibre of our society and development,” said Kondowe.
According to a statement from the Bureau and signed by its senior publicist Egrita Ndala the investigations started in December 2016 after receiving a complaint that procurement procedures were not followed in the procurement of maize from Zambia by ADMARC.
She said: “The Anti- Corruption Bureau has been conducting investigation into the matter. The Bureau sent its officers to Zambia in January where they together with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia interviewed various people whom it felt had information relevant to the matter.
Ndala further said that On 21st February, 2017, the Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted a search and seizure operation on various premises after it obtained search and seizure warrants from the court.
The Bureau said in a statement that its “investigation had established that there were offences committed in the procurement of maize from Zambia.”
Ndala said that Tayub is likely to face influencing a public officer to misuse his public office charges contrary to Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
She explained that the ACB has in recent times come under intense pressure and scrutiny on this matter and that others have even suggested the Bureau is under instructions from the executive to obstruct justice in this matter for political reasons.
Ndala said: “We wish to make it clear to the public and all stakeholders that the ACB remains an independent professional institution which operates independently without any influence from any one. The process of investigations can be complicated and needs to be conducted with due process and detailed care.”
She explained that the bureau empathizes with the concerns of the public for speedy investigations but said that in a democracy, such calls need to be balanced with the due process required under the law.
“It must be noted that in some cases where accused persons are members of parliament and have parliamentary immunity when they are sitting in parliament and that may delay such processes. But I would like to emphasize that like all accused persons, the accused remain innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law,” said the ACB Public Relations Officer.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :