ACB Director Martha Chizuma lectures public on evils of Corruption

Newly minted graft-busting body Chief, Martha Chizuma says the levels of corruption in Malawi are deeply shocking and astonishing to an all high, and that there is a greater need for every citizen to be responsible in fighting the cancer that is corruption.

Chizuma, who is one of the people’s favourite public officers in the country, made the remarks Tuesday ahead of a public lecture under the theme: ‘Understanding the role of Umunthu in dealing with the corruption in Malawi’ to be held on Wednesday at Sunbird Mount Soche in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

The ACB Director General, Chizuma tweeted: ” The levels of corruption in this country are staggering. We all have a moral obligation to save ourselves from the mess we have created.

ACB Director General  – Martha Chizuma 

“We all need you to join hands. Join us your ACB as we engage the academia for this public lecture on ‘the role of umunthu in corruption fight.

Chizuma, who will be host of the show will be joined on the stage by the vice chancellor of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Professor Address Mauakowa Malata, as a resource person.

The public lecture will be covered live on ZBS radio and tv, Times Television (TTV) radio and it will also be streaming on Facebook live and people will be allowed to ask questions during the public lecture.

Human Rights and Social justice advocate and private practice lawyer, John-Gift Mwakhawa hailed Chizuma for the lecture saying it is timely as now more than ever as Malawians needs to acquaint themselves on dangers of corruption.

“When people are informed, they make informed decision and for Martha to come and give a lecture on corruption is an incredible feat. It is time we take matters of corruption to be taken seriously.

“For now, I can say that we are on the right path, we just all need to take our responsibility to fight corruption,” said Mwakhwawa.

Chizuma is the first woman to head the corruption-fighting organisation and expectations are so high as Malawian are waiting with abated breath to see how Chizuma, known for her bulldozer attitude would execute her duties at ACB, an important organisation, which for so long has been a toothless bulldog.

With vast experience and expertise in the legal profession, Chizuma is going to ACB as the people’s favourite public servant to help clean and clear the rubble.

The Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) was established by law Malawi to fight and prevent corruption as well as promoting and upholding the rule of law in the country

Section 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi committed the country to “introduce measures which will guarantee accountability, transparency, personal integrity and financial probity and which by virtue of their effectiveness and transparency will strengthen confidence in public institutions” In conformity with this commitment, Government presented a Corrupt Practices Bill, no 18 of 1995 which Parliament which was passed in December 1995. It was amended in 2004.

The ACB is a government department headed by the Director General assisted by the Deputy Director General who are both appointed by the President but whose appointment is subject to ratification by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Other officers of the Bureau are appointed by the Director General following normal procurement procedures. The finances of the Bureau are charged to the consolidated fund.

Gilton Chiwaula took took up his position as the first ACB Director on 1st March 1997 but ACB only became functional and commenced its full operations on 9th February 1998.

Others who served as ACB directors, among others, in the recent times, include Lucas Kondowe and Reyneck Matemba.

However, ACB is a controlled legal entity as its Director General is subject to the direction and control of the Minister (of justice) on all matters of policy, but otherwise is not subject to the direction or control in the performance of his professional duties.

Over the years the ACB has not been as effective as it should due political interference and lack of independence as the Bureau needs consent from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute suspects – a legal requirement widely viewed by many legal minds as controlling and not necessary.

President Lazarus has promised Malawians that he will guarantee the needed independence to all state agencies that are tasked with the law to fight crime in the country and Chizuma’s appointment seem to suggest Chakwera’s intent to root out corruption in the country.

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