Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has penned the Inspector General (IG) of the Malawi Police Service, Dr. George Kainja, demanding prosecution of police officers suspected to have solicited bribes.
The local human rights watchdog has given Kainja 21 days to facilitate the prosecution of the law enforcers in question before citizens can utilize their right to public litigation in search of justice and equality for all who abuse their office and indulge in corrupt practices.
The body, through its chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba, expresses frustration over the hypocrisy the service has demonstrated by hurriedly prosecuting citizens on matters of corruption, but chose to shield law enforces who were caught in the act of receiving bribes.
“By copy of this letter, we call upon the Anti-Corruption Bureau to out rightly follow-up on this matter and act in accordance with its mandate and laws on Corruption,” says Mkwezalamba in his letter to Kainja.
He says while demanding fairness from all public authorities and against all manner of persons regardless of status, it finds it out of order for the police to be shielding corrupt persons as evidenced by the 27th May 2021 wireless message titled: Reversion from CID and Traffic Branch).
Mkwezalamba further expresses disappointment that the police has always been quick to prosecute in courts citizens on matters of corruption, yet it is shielding its officers who were caught in the act of doing.
“We would like to draw your attention to the Malawi Corrupt Practices Act, section 24, which makes it clear that ; “ Any public officer who by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person, corruptly solicits, accepts or obtains, or agrees to accept or attempts to receive or obtain, from any person for himself or for any other person, any advantage as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do, or for having done or forborne to do, anything in relation to any matter or transaction, actual or proposed, with which any public body is or may be concerned shall be guilty of an offence’,” reads the letter Mkwezalamba has written to the IG.
He argues that by reducing the corrupt officers in rank and arranging to transfer them from CID/Traffic to general duties, is clear admission on Kainja’s part that the officers in question committed the offices and legally remain guilty of the offences unless determined otherwise by a competent court.
He says they are surprised that the police chief decided to take the law in his own hands and decided to mete a punishment favorable to his office and not that accorded in law.
“As a refresher, we further draw your attention to Section 34 of the same Act on possible punishment, which states and we quote; “Any person who is guilty of an offence under this Part shall be liable to imprisonment for twelve years. Simply put, every Malawian and our development partners have had to change their dealings with our State due to high cases of corruption and abuse of office at various levels of our society and for a supposedly professional body and custodian of our laws in Malawi to be seen to shield Public officers involved in corrupt practices is not only defeating the whole anti-corruption fight, but promotes the continued exercising of such practice by public officers who know they will simply be transferred to a new location or department once caught,” emphasizes Mkwezalamba.
The human rights activist further stresses that the IG would be seen to be fair if he brought the officers in question before the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and that they be tried in open court to clear themselves or for the courts to pronounce appropriate punishments based on their convictions.
“We are aware the decision on them may have a dent on their future, but a decision of the court will either clear them or confirm the findings of the Service. Without belaboring the point, we demand that the decision to transfer the officers to general duties or transfer them to new duty stations be immediately withdrawn and suspended pending the decision of the appropriate state organs, the officers be Immediately reported to the Anti Corruption bureau and that cases be opened against them, the courts be allowed and requested to expedite these cases and ensure that justice is netted timely and the outcome of the courts be used to act on all police officers who will continue indulging themselves in this practice,” demands Mkwezalamba.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :