ACB director Chizuma appeals for information to investigate corruption which enables forest crime

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director-general, Martha Chizuma, has appealed to members of the general public to provide the graft busting body with information that could lead to investigation of long held and widespread allegations that police officers manning roadblocks are receiving bribes to enable the transit of truckloads of illegal charcoal.

Chizuma, who took up the position of ACB director-general less than two months ago, made the appeal Monday in the capital Lilongwe during the presentation of a report on the Role of Corruption in Enabling Wildlife and Forest Crime in Malawi.

However, the deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) responsible for administration, Merlyne Yolamu, who was present at the function, said these corruption allegations should not only concern police officers and called for what she described as “a holistic approach” in addressing forest crimes, especially the illegal charcoal production.

Among other things, the report identifies illegal charcoal production as the main driver of forest crimes in Malawi.

It further alleges that police officers manning the roadblocks are perpetrating the problem when receiving bribes in order to allow the passage of the illegal charcoal.

Chizuma said the “ACB eyes” will keep open to such allegations and urged the public to give the bureau more tipoffs and information to enable it investigate and eventually prosecute the cases.

“The impact of forest crime is huge in Malawi and literally destroying our national heritage which is our survival. There is the need for a moral obligation on ACB and every Malawian to ensure that corruption in the sector is dealt with swiftly and severely. So long the allegations are reported to us and we believe there is merit in them, we will investigate and prosecute them,” said Chizuma.

She commended MPCC for inviting ACB to the presentation of the report, saying such engagements with other relevant stakeholders will enhance the coordination that will result to the allegations being investigated and prosecuted.

MPCC co-chairperson, Werani Chilenga, concurred with Chizuma, saying the corruption allegations must indeed be reported and investigated.

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