Former cabinet minister Patricia Kaliati faces prosecution following as the office of the country’s Director of Public Prosecution has given fresh consent to have her brought before the law for corruption allegations and abuse of office.
Kaliati, while serving as Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development, influenced Ministry of Education officials to admit 76 students into various secondary schools in the Shire Highlands Division.
Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigated the matter – exposed by Weekend Nation newspaper on September 19 2009 -and strongly concluded that the former minister may have committed offences under the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA).
The Director of Public Prosecutions gave ACB consent to prosecute Kaliati for corruption and abuse of office but the fired ACB director Alex Nampota did nothing about it.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara, said the top prosecutor already gave consent to have Kaliati prosecuted and that the wheels of justice should roll now.
Kasambara said although government respects the independence of graft-busting body, which is supposed to prosecute the cases, it is following the case with keen interest.
“The matter is with Anti Corruption Bureau. I am sure they are working on it and hope they have not swept under the carpet,” Kasambara responded to Nyasa Times questionnaire.
Nyasa Times sources indicate that the top prosecutor has issued fresh consent to ACB to prosecute Kaliati and that she is set to be dragged to court.
“Kaliati will be taken to court in relation to the Ministry of Education scandal. A fresh consent has been issued for prosecution,” said a reliable source indicating that she will be arrested.
ACB confirmed the investigations were concluded and the matter is before prosecutors.
“Investigations were concluded on this matter and the matter is being reviewed by the Prosecutions Department,” Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala said in a brief response to a questionnaire.
The DPP issued the first consent on July 8 2011 following conclusion of investigations into the matter in late 2009.
The ACB report says Kaliati influenced the admission of 76 pupils to Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo, Luchenza and Chiradzulu secondary schools as a campaign tool to win votes in the 2009 parliamentary elections.
But Kaliati claims the charges are unwarranted, saying “I didn’t do anything wrong in that issue.”
According to the bureau, they received a complaint on September 22, 2009, alleging that Kaliati, with the help of assistant chief education officer Oscar Maganga and others, manipulated systems to place the students, whom she described as “needy” in secondary schools without the minister responsible and other senior officials in the ministry knowing.
The admission of the 76 pupils led to the interdiction of Maganga but he was later cleared of wrong doing.
ACB report claims that interviews with Ministry of Education officials, head teachers, Democratic Progressive Party constituency officials in Mulanje West, students and parents all pointed to wrong doing on the part of Kaliati and her co-accused- Maganga, Nkuya and education division manager Hazel Manda.
The ACB report says: “Hon. Kaliati was corruptly using the admission of boys and girls from her constituency to secondary schools in Shire Highlands Education Division in order to win votes from the electorates during the 19 May 2009 general elections, contrary to Section 26 (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
The section reads: “Any person who by himself, or by or in conjunction with any other person, corruptly gives, promises or offers any advantage to any person, whether for the benefit of that person or of any other person, 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 private body is or may be concerned shall be guilty of an offence.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :