Law expert urges arrest of Karim, Botoman: Impeachment of Malawi leader over corruption dossier

A  constitutional law commentator Professor Danwood Chirwa has said a statement issued by  Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) not to confirm the authenticity of the  leaked document summarizing serious fraud and corruption involving the police, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),  President Peter Peter Mutharika and a businessman Zameer Karim is due to “extreme pressure” from the corridors of power but has recommended the due process of the law.

Dr Danwood Chirwa: Let due process of the law

Karim: Faces arrest

Bottomani: Says his signature was forged

The document suggests President Mutharika may have benefitted from K145 million that a  Pioneer Investments owner Zameer Karim deposited in a DPP account for which he is the sole signatory.

However, the statement the ACB released on Friday  fails to deny that it has investigated the suspected crime or the parties mentioned in the leaked document.

“It also does not deny that it has  produced a memo of the sort leaked. All it says is that the leak was not made by its director or spokesperson.,” observed Chirwa.

He stated that the claim that ACB is going to investigate whether the leaked report ‘came from the Bureau or not’ is  “embarrassing to the Director  (Reyneck Matemba) because it suggests that he wasn’t aware of the investigation or report.”

Chirwa added: “Given that the case implicates the highest office, he could not have been unaware, and so this obfuscation must be seen as ploy to escape from personal political pressure, which the office must never experience in any case.

“We know that the ACB has compiled many dockets detailing corrupts deeds of many very senior politicians but it has not prosecuted them due to political interference. This is not what the ACB was set up to do. It’s a waste of resources to investigate cases and never to prosecute. It must be independent and prosecute cases without fear or favour.”

In a newspaper interview, Matemba confirmed ACB received a complaint in relation to the transactions of Pioneer Investments.

Chirwa has said the leak must be welcomed for the reason that the case was not going to be brought to court.

“Now at least people know how their country is being plundered. Not that this is surprising. But knowing that there is evidence for the suspicions people have is edifying and gives hope that there could be some accountability, political or legal,” he said.

Arrest and impeachment

The legal expert recommended that ACB must arrest those implicated who have no immunity  –  Karim and Malawi Police  director of finance Innocent Bottoman  – without delay and parliament must institute impeachment proceedings against the President.

“The presidential immunity from criminal prosecution does not preclude political prosecution via impeachment. The ACB should have made the report available to parliament for it to take appropriate action. It must submit the docket and all the evidence to Parliament now,” he said.

Chirwa said there is objective evidence that political parties in Malawi are “criminal enterprises” whose primary victims are the State and its people and primary beneficiaries are those who hold high office and their cronies.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima has called for the amendment of a constitutional provision that shields a sitting President from criminal prosecution, saying it gives the presidency licence to commit corrupt crimes.

Outgoing Malawi Law Society president Mwiza Nkhata, who is also associate professor of law at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, generally agreed with Chirwa.

He said the provision was put in to allow a sitting President to focus on running the country not court appearances.

Renowned governance expert Makhumbo Munthali recently told Nyasa Times that while it was difficult to prosecute a sitting Head of State it was important that as a country “we should not miss the broader picture or message the Vice President might have been indirectly communicating” to the country.

“Being an insider and someone exposed to the Presidency, the Vice President might have been raising an alarm on the possible existence of ‘embarrassing’ levels of Presidential criminality particularly in relation to the fight against corruption in the country. And by calling for removal of immunity of the President, the Vice President might have been using this as a strategy to get the much needed public attention towards the magnitude of the alleged corruption in the country – which he had earlier on described as reaching embarrassing levels – and indirectly communicating that at the centre of this embarrassing levels of corruption was a higher political and public office something beyond the bureaucrats,” said Munthali.

Added Munthali: “Perhaps as a country we should not only be wary about a country being brought to a standstill but also asking ourselves this question: should political or public office be a safe haven where one can run to in order to escape justice over ‘serious crimes’ [in our Malawi context] like corruption which put the lives of many Malawians at risk? One possibility would be to isolate those serious crimes which the President can be prosecuted while in office and retaining immunity over ‘smaller’ crimes to just ensure that there is some order.”

Influential newspaper columnist Backbencher wrote on Saturday that the framers of Malawi Constitution no doubt had good reasons for granting the presidency immunity from prosecution to shield the President from legal tussles so that undivided presidential attention could be on the taxing job of running the country.

“Obviously the assumption was that a President who is under oath to ‘preserve and defend’ the Constitution and uphold the laws of the land would not wilfully flout the same laws. In reality, the opposite has turned out to be true,” Backbencher pointed out.

“It is a serious act of betrayal to use the highest public office in the land for amassing wealth at the expense of hard-working Malawians who pay tax through the nose. Let’s not forget that even before corruption reached Cashgate proportions, it was estimated to be eroding as much as 30 percent revenue from the public coffers.”

The columnist suggests that to save Malawi, there should be no immunity for anyone indulging in corruption, not even the President.

Character assassination, no wrong doing

Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani has argued that the leaked document is a coordinated and sponsored character assassination campaign against President Mutharika and the DPP from a disgruntled politician.

“This so-called leaked document is part of that scheme. Take a close look at it and you will notice that the document is not signed. It is a fabrication and the said politician is behind this scheme.

“As regard to the transaction in the DPP account, there was nothing sinister about it and we will provide a detailed explanation about it in due course,” he said.

Both Bottoman and Karim  have also denied wrong doing in newspaper interviews.

Bottoman claimed  some people are trying to tarnish his image.

“My signature was forged and I do not know who did it and for what purpose. What I know is that the government told the company to reimburse part of the money,” he said,

Karim said the issue is” politically motivated” .

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Aishoshe
Guest
Aishoshe

what does Karim know about politics for him to say this issue is politically motivated?kuwapatsa amwenye mphamvu kuti azitilamulira zoona?shame on all of you involved..tikumangani ndithu.

Jojo
Guest
Jojo

The problem is not the thief; the problem is the people that vote for and support the thief. Wakuba yemweyo!!!!

winston msowoya
Guest
winston msowoya

I strongly agree with the law expert to arrest Karim and the impeachment of the Head of State plus botoman to show the Malawians and the world at large that Malawians are vehemently opposed to corruption by anybody be it the Head of State.It is corruption that destroys progress in the country.If the Head of State is impeached and found guilty,he must be imprisoned so that those who come after him must learn a lesson,otherwise,if left him alone,his successor will do the same bloody-thing.For Karim,if found guilty,must be imprisoned for long time in jail because Indians and Pakistans are the… Read more »

JJB
Guest
JJB

Bakili muluzi said a Malawi sachedwa kuiwala. Everytime there was a story about Karim and pioneer, the name that came was Goodall. 1. He was accused of being a family friend of Karim 2. accused of authorising payment of interest after taking a cut 3. He was accused of shielding Karim 4. He was accused of all sorts 5.None of the people that committed forgeries were mentioned. It was always Goodall,Goodall Parliamentary committee even asked ACB to investigate him, CSO asked for his resignation, because of Karim issue. Now there is a leaked report, why is Goodall not mentioned? considering… Read more »

Morgan
Guest

All of you commenting here on the 145,000,000.00 should just keep quiet. You only find pleasure in writing while your country is being destroyed by mwenyeyo. Can this happen in other countries? What have you benefited from your everyday comments. Peter keep it up for Malawians are silly and stupid spectators. Go deeper my toothless President.

Dausi
Guest
Dausi

Very soon we will use mob justice against these Asian Indians. We will burn their property, we will lynch them and their wives. Very soon. We are just waiting for a spark. In fact these people are racists we don’t want them here they go back to wherever they came from.

China
Guest
China

I agree with you that’s the only solution

CitizenX
Guest
CitizenX

MALAWI IS POOR BECAUSE OF THESE CORRUPT AMWENYES, IN SOUTH AFRICA IT IS THE GUPTAS.

Gwamula
Guest
Gwamula

Mgeme Kalilani unkaba mabukhu mu library ya Machika ukupanga diploma ya law. No wonder ukuikila kumbuyo bwana wako wokubanso.
A Botomani ndi a Samveka munakwezedwa zosaoneka bwino muli ku Fiscal police ku BT, government building. Ndizomwe munakwezedwela kuti mukathandizile kuba ndi kuononga dziko.
A Mutharika ndi anzanu nonse akatangale komaso amwenye inu, kaya a Transglobe, Pioneer, kaya a Gani a Victoria hotel, inu a Lido ndi anzanu; dziwani kuti tatopa nanu. Pompano tingopanga zamanja, lamulo likutikanoka poti munaliwononga pachiyambi ndi malowedwe anu muboma.

Chimzimu Chonyasa
Guest

Reimbursing Government funds paid into a party or personal account? Does government now use personal accounts for its transactions? Very interesting argument

Ndangodutsamo
Guest

Mgeme even the ACB boss sakukana akungodandaula kuti the document has leaked. I know you are protecting your job but you must also protect your integrity

Telon
Guest

Mgeme please don’t display your foolish traits. Did any politician force Peter to accept dirty money? Why did he withdraw money from his account, disguised as DPP account, if he didn’t know the source? Accounts numbers have been mentioned, why can’t you check the activities on those accounts if you want to defend the chief thief.

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