ACB czar Chizuma alleges judge pocketed money to release Ashok Nair

The Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Martha Chizuma, has alleged that a High Court judge pocketed “something” in the release on bail of Ashok Nair, who is an agent of embattled businessman Zuneith Sattar.

Chizuma has said this in a leaked phone call, in which, in part, she is heard sharing secrets and insights about the ongoing corruption investigations with one Anderson Mwakyelu.

The investigations, happening both in Malawi and the United Kingdom, involve Sattar and his accomplices that include senior and junior public officers in Malawi government.

The leaked call, allegedly recorded by Mwakyelu in order to bring down Chizuma, is a pure gossip episode between the two, who appear to be close friends.

So, Mwakyelu allegedly betrayed his friend Chizuma, who, apparently, trusted him.

“Then they did their evil things and had Ashok released. A judge pocketed something. We knew this on Wednesday as we were preparing to go for hearing on Friday. We knew this meant things would not work out now,” Chizuma told Mwakyelu in the audio, which Nyasa Times has in possession.

As a result, Chizuma also told Mwakyelu, she has lost trust in the country’s justice system in the fight against corruption, as she suspects more judges would be involved in corruption.

“Let me tell you this. On Friday I was very depressed, especially with the release of Ashok. I have always said that, through the hands of that man, trillions of Malawi kwacha have gone. It hurt me to see that the justice system will not help.

Of course, some judges and magistrates called me, saying sorry Martha, things are not supposed to be like this. Meaning there is still some good ones who are seeing that this is not justice.

To be quite honest, winning this battle will not only depend on the justice system. The justice system will have to be forced to do what is right,” she said, as Mwakyelu just laughed on the other end of the line.

Chizuma then suggested to Mwakyelu that the current investigation and prosecution of corruption cases should be handled like the 2019/2020 presidential election petition case, “where the tone was already set from the beginning and Malawians demanded the exact justice they wanted”.

In the 12 minute 34 seconds call, Chizuma is also heard claiming that Sattar has invested $10 million to bribe anyone who wants to stand in the way of investigations.

She is also casting doubt on whether she can fully rely on Pentecostals and Catholics for a mere fact that the country’s “number one and two” are communicant members, respectively.

“And some church members are too emotionally attached to the faith of another person, especially high profile. They say this one belongs to us, Catholics. They would not believe or accept when he is accused of doing something wrong,” she told Mwakyelu.

However, Chizuma expressed hope that, with the pressure that is there, she looks forward to seeing more support, largely from the church and not civil society.

In the audio, she also talked about, among others, her personal experience working at ACB, the threats she receives and the support she gets from the country’s leadership.

Chizuma could not confirm nor deny the contents of the recording.

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