The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma once gain stands accused of not briefing leaders of critical State departments in her collaboration with the British National Crimes Agency (NCA) on the alleged corruption investigations involving businessman Zuneth Sattar.
ACB has admitted that they ignored and alienated the Attorney General in pursuit of the businessman after the NCA had tipped them on their two year investigation, court documents filed on 1st March 2022 in the Lilongwe Registry of the High Court of Malawi disclose.
“…I refer to paragraph 21 of the 1st Claimants Trial Checklist and wish to state that the Anti-Corruption Bureau directly and without involving the Office of the Attorney General received information from the National Crimes Agency that following almost two years of investigation in the United Kingdom (UK), the National Crimes Agency had come across evidence suggesting that Mr Zuneth Sattar, a British National, holding Permanent Residence Permit in Malawi is involved in corrupt activities with public servants and private individuals in Malawi including corruption in procurement of goods and services in the public service.,” reads the sworn affidavits by Isaac Nkhoma Principal Investigations Officer handling the matter.
The Judicial Review case comes before Justice Professor Justice Kapindu and ACB is pleading for an order to dismiss the application for judicial review; discharge the Order of Stay of arrest and detention of the Claimants (Former Minister Kezzie Msukwa and business man Ashok Nair) and costs for bring the application.
According to the sources, ACB acted illegally by communicating and accepting a team from NCA to operate and run affairs in Malawi without permission. ACB invited the British investigators without permission from government. It then submitted incomplete reports resulting in the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Steve Kayuni, refusing and withholding consent on the arrest of Ashok Nair.
Besides the disclosure about the ACB conduct in handling the matter, Nyasa Times can further reveal that the ACB did not collaborate well, thereby according to law putting the whole case in jeopardy in Malawi and United Kingdom.
Sources at the Ministry of Homeland Security’s Immigration Department have expressed dismay on how the NCA investigators came into the country and took part in the raids at Ashok Nair’s premises, ceasing information and participating in interrogation when they had no right to work in the country.
“There is no application of a temporary work permit to the British investigating offices. I wonder why the Chizuma (ACB Director) would facilitate the investigating spies enter the country without the knowledge of the top ranking officials. She broke the law by abating alien spies, or security agents or investigators come into the country in disguise as visitors,” said our source, a senior Immigration official but pleaded for anonymity.
Our source said could not locate any applications by ACB for temporary work visa or permit hence the NCA were in Malawi working illegally.
Nyasa Times checked with officials at the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) headed by Chief Spy Dokani Ngwira, but them too expressed ignorance about the entry of the British investigators into the country.
“We were not made aware of their presence in the country and we do not know what they collected and where and from whom? We also wonder why critical security information involving the Army, Police and Immigration as to from whom we buy and what type of equipment we use, can be shared carelessly even without the authorisation of the Commander in Chief let alone Commander of the Armed Forces and Inspector General of Police?” wondered a senior ranking official in the NIB.
Malawi Government top lawyer and legal advisor, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda is reported not have seen any request from the ACB to share critical information with a foreign ally as stipulated by law. The NCA have so far not made any request to have the information shared with them either.
However, Chakaka Nyirenda, during a press briefing said: “My office is ready to cooperate with the United Kingdom on exchange of evidence through normal diplomatic channels on prescribed legal framework while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of the two countries.”
Nyirenda said the Immunities and Privileges Act plus the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations as well as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to recover any money that might have been illicitly transferred from Malawi to United Kingdom shall be used.
“The office shall also ensure that all legal formalities including the prescriptions under the mutual assistance in criminal matters act are followed to the letter when collecting evidence from the UK or sending evidence to the UK to avoid needless and undeserving acquittals or needless and undeserving loss of lawsuits and a matter of compliance with the rule of law,” he said.
Both the AG and DPP argue that ACB contravened the Laws of Malawi: Chapter 8.04 and Chapter 16.01 which deals with mutual assistance in criminal matters and immunities and privileges respectively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :