Chizuma staying put to fight corrupt public money thieves

Malawi’s militant graft buster, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general, Martha Chizuma has spit fire by reiterating her commitment and resolve to lead the fight against corruption in the country amid fresh promises that she will continue to hunt down all those who allegedly pilfered public funds to ensure that they are put behind bars.

Chizuma says as a servant of the Malawian people who trusted her with the responsibility to end corruption in the country, she is determined more than ever to lead the fight against the cancerous vice that is corruption to the end until such time that people will feel uncomfortable with corruption.

ACB Director Genera Martha Chizuma

In an interview with Nyasa Times yesterday, the legal bulldozer incumbent ACB director and  former Ombudsman, Chizuma has appealed to the citizenry for maximum support so that the war against graft is to be won flat out.

Chizuma said: “Fighting corruption is a dirty and nasty game as the perpetrators are always aggressive and fights back with everything the hold hold dear with.

“Fighting corruption is  accomplex, tricky and risky business, and in many ways, the corrupt fights back with utter ruthlessness.”

Chizuma said with the support of all Malawians of goodwill, the war against corruption can easily be won.

Said Chizuma:  “The fate of this country largely depends on what we decide and actually do about corruption as a country keeps us pushing forward.

“I am greatly honoured that God through the President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus Chakwera entrusted me with this huge responsibility and so grateful to the Malawian people for believing in me.

“For that, I will not stay back no matter the circumstances and I will fight and fight to the deepest end until those that stole money from Malawians are prosecuted and thrown into jail.”

Chizuma, however, said she heavily depends on Malawians to support the bureau leads in this fight.

This is the first time Chizuma has spoken out after a leaked audio in which the ACB head alleged some people were working to frustrate her efforts to fight corruption.

The recording earned her a wrath of a rebuke from President Lazarus Chakwera after she admitted to him that the conversation was authentic.

To the annoyance of many Malawians, Chizuma is now facing a defamation lawsuit from corruption suspected corrupt businessperson Zunneth Sattar’s his blue-eyed associate Ashok Kumar Sreedharan, who claims his name was disparaged in the recording.

However, when pressed to comment on lawsuit which has been filed in the courts, the ACB director general could not be drawn to comment on the lawsuit, saying: “I will not comment on the Ashok lawsuit because the matter is in court.

“All I can say is that just like I have been doing in past nine months I been at the bureau, I have been coming to the office, giving it my best and go home and no amount of threats or distractions will derail my resolve to fight on. ”

Chizuma said there was a schemed ploy to discredit her adding that there there are also some unscrupulous people that have created a social media page, which they are using to post fake things on her behalf.

‘Hands off’

Meanwhile, the civil society, human rights and political activists and prominent legal minds in the country and abroad have ganged up to warn those are threatening the integrity and drive of the ACB director general to keep their hands off her.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HDRC) chairperson Gift Trapence threw his weight behind Chizuma on the fight against corruption.

Trapence said Chizuma continues ‘to face obstruction in her quest to fight corruption in the country’ from those who indulge in corrupt practices.

Trapence said: “Regardless, our faith in Ms. Chizuma’s capability to shake the corruption tree to expose the rotten fruit is still intact and we believe she is still the right person for the job.

“As Malawians, we should guard against any threats that will impede her work and ensure that she has the right resources to carry out her legal mandate. Our final call is that it is imperative for all well-meaning Malawians to rally behind Ms. Chizuma…”

Veteran Human rights and social justice campaigner, Undule Mwakasungula has also pledged his support to Chizuma asking her distractors to leave her alone so she can execute her duties effectively.

“I believe Chizuma is the right person to steer the fight against corruption forward and she needs to be left alone in peace so she can do what Malawians asked her to do. As for those who think you can distract her please hands off,” said Makasungula.

Chancellor College based Legal expert and scholar, Professor Garton Kamchedzera questions the legality and merit of Chizuma’s civil suit as to why did the “several legal minds” tell the President that the leaked audio recording contained enough information to justify her removal as Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau but not that the man whose voice is heard on the recording needed to be investigated for a criminal offence?

“Section 319A(f) of the Penal Code creates an offence punishable by seven years imprisonment for any person to engage in deceit to induce another person to do or say something that she or he is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing or saying.

“The man whose voice is in the audio and abused the trust she had in him slyly asked questions whose answers could be used to knock her out of the fight against corruption. She struggled to answer some of those questions, as he presented himself to be on her side,” he reasoned.

South African based law Professor, Danwood Chirwa said the Ashok civil suit against Chizuma will also fail.

“Malawians must take decisive action now, not wait till 2025. There might be no country to redeem by that time. With every second, the country is being sold piece by piece to crooks who know no bounds to their greed and depravity.

“As the masses prepare to rise up, remember that even more deranged demagogues than the current ones might sense the opportunity and take advantage of the political vacuum that currently exists.

Private practice Lawyer, Sylvester Ayuba James who is organising  Anti-Ashok demonstrations alongside business tycoon cum political activist  Salima based Joshua Chisa Mbele scheduled for March 2nd 2022 said the preparations are going on well and he is receiving calls from ‘very important people’ within and outside Malawi registering their support, both morally and financially.

Said Ayuba James: “We want to meet him (Ashok)  in person and have a conversation or two with him, so he knows that although he can play with the balls of our leaders, he cannot do that with every Malawian.

“We also want to remind him that he is a foreigner and, most importantly, that Martha Chizuma was employed by the public so any assault on her is a war with the public.”

President Chakwera after the audio leaked told the nation that he still trust and believe that Chizuma is the right person for the job to lead the fight against corruption.

” I am disappointed and angry by what happened but I have decided to put Malawi first over my anger. I still believe that Ms. Chizuma is the right person in this fight against corruption and that this was a work by the forces of darkness,” said President Chakwera some few weeks ago.

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