Graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says the leaked dossier on the deal between the Malawi Police Service and Pioneer Investment, which President Mutharika was named to have benefited from K145 million (about $200 000) deposited into the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account to which he is a sole signatory is a genuine investigative report.
ACB director Reyneck Matemba told a news conference in Lilongwe on Friday that President Mutharika, though mentioned in the leaked dossier, is not yet a suspect of corruption, until investigations are concluded the bureau will know who should be prosecuted or not.
He said the dossier was legitimate but the leak could jeopardise the investigations as some of the witnesses, he said, have expressed concern and might not testify in fear of their lives.
“We are not only exposing the lives of our witnesses at risk but they are also demanding remedial measures. Their lives are in real danger,” said Matemba.
“If you read at that report there are names of people that came forward to the bureau on trust and in confidence–whistleblowers, informants. Some of them will be our witnesses. What most people are forgetting is that the leakage exposed those people.”
“Already three of them I will not mention names called us to say – you guys you have put our lives at risk, you have exposed us–we gave you this information on trust. If this is not remedied forget it we will not come forward to even testify” said Matemba.
He said the leakage would compromise the investigations.
Matemba also announced that the money for the lie detector experts who are to jet into the country to find out who leaked the document will not be state money.
He said donors would foot all the bill.
“There will be no government money in this exercise,” he said.
He said the prosecution of the suspects would start as soon as the ACB builds a strong case against the suspects but pointed out that so far there are no suspects.
Matemba said what was contained in the leaked document was just recommendations and not a directive or order.
“We all know the meaning of the word recommendation, it is not a directive, and it is not an order. This is what the investigators found…so they are recommending to prosecution and legal that can you take a look at this. So recommendations are recommendations, so it will be premature to say they are suspect or not. We have had cases were suspects have become witnesses–it depends on their role” Matemba explained.
Civil rights activist Timothy Mtambo said the information in the dossier is enough to prosecute the suspects.
Meanwhile, Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Chikumbutso Kalilombe has cautioned government that if not well handled the scandal can result in donors, foreign investors and the investing public losing confidence in the country.
“We do not want history to repeat itself as was case with the 2013 public mismanagement of funds popularly known as Cashgate. We cannot afford to lose the little aid that we are getting right now.
“The concerns and suggestions raised by the various interest groups, therefore, need not be taken lightly. In fact, the matter should be handled expeditiously and transparently,” Kalilombe said in quotes reported by local press.
The Ecama president said his institution has always highlighted that corruption is one of the many evils holding back the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :