ACB still after Chilima in corruption probe

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma says the graft busting body had not withdrawn its corruption charges and arrest warrant against Vice President Saulos Chilima.

She also said there had not been political interference from President Dr Lazarus Chakwera to force the Bureau drop the matter as is being suggested in some quarters.

Chizuma said this on Friday during a debate to mark the Africa Anti-Corruption Day in Lilongwe.

Chizuma – allow ACB to do its job Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

“No arrest had been withdrawn. The work that we do is quiet tasking-emotionally, physically and even resource wise. We will proceed with what we are supposed to do.

“There has not been any political influence and even if there was, we would not be cowed into doing what is not right,” said Chizuma.

She lashed out at UTM supporters for blocking ACB investigators, urging them to adopt a mindset change and consider the negative implication of corruption on the country.

She said: “When you look at what corruption does, let us say it is done by the current Tonse Alliance government, those who suffer are not only people in opposition. Even those who support the Tonse Alliance also suffer.

“Regardless of your political party, start hating corruption for what it is. People that are indulging in corruption are the evil ones. It is them that are doing this evil not their political parties. It is my wish that we see a change of mind set by the population as a whole.”

Chizuma further pointed out that ACB will not be intimidated by the political interference. She stressed that those who are implicated will face the law.

The criticism against ACB reached its pinnacle last month after the anti-graft body released a report that exposed top government officials who are linked to the alleged corrupt network of United Kingdom based businessperson Zuneth Sattar.

The exposure resulted in the presidential freeze of delegated roles to Vice-President Saulos Chilima and dismissal of Inspector General of Police George Kainja.

President Lazarus Chakwera questioned why ACB had not included those implicated during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration while Chilima in a statement described the accusations levelled against him as politically motivated.

After reports that the ACB planned to interview Chilima, his UTM supporters gathered at his residence in Lilongwe which was widely seen as a ploy to intimidate the bureau.

The Malawi Law Society (MLS), among others, condemned the act.

“We also call upon members of the Vice-President’s political party or the general public to avoid taking actions and steps that may be perceived to obstruct or impede the course of justice in the matter concerning the allegations of corruption by the Vice-President,” reads in part MLS statement issued on June 26 2022.

Meanwhile, on the Africa Anti-Corruption Day, the Centre of Democracy and Economic Development expressed concern over ACB’s silence on planned arrests of more suspects in the alleged Sattar corruption deals.

Responding to the query in an interview on the sidelines of the debate, Chizuma, ruling out political interference, attributed the delay to complex processes ACB has to undertake to effect the arrests.

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