The Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) director has joined the Auditor General in refuting allegations that seven ministers are among those named in the K239 billion looting of government coffers. On the advice of the Attorney General, the Auditor General has been coy to release the names involved in cash gate.
Both the Auditor General and ACB director have insisted that the report does not include the names of ministers. However, the outspoken MP for Rumphi East and Peoples’ Party third-vice president Kamlepo Kalua still insists that the report, which parliament has also in possession, has names of seven ministers. The issue has now degenerated into a circus with accusations and counter-accusations.
The issue of release of names mentioned in the report has gained public interest among Malawians. They want to know who the individuals and organisation are. The continued concealing of the names is not only undermining the credibility of the ACB and the DPP government, but also undermines the democratic principles of accountability and transparency.
Why is the ACB and government shielding the companies and individuals involved? This is a public interest issue because public funds are /were involved. The public is entitled to know. Defamation should not be used as an excuse to hide their names because the report does not suggest that they are guilty. But the mere fact that they are in the report their names should be mentioned. It is up to the court to vindicate them.
When Joyce Banda commissioned an audit into cash gate people’s names were mentioned. Those who had no case to answer were exonerated. Others were arrested, charged, prosecuted and subsequently jailed.
By hiding their names, the message government and the ACB is sending is that the people involved are “big” and government does not want to embarrassment them. This is also selective justice whereby those in power and their cohorts are untouchable. Why should rich people, politicians and their cohorts get away with corruption?
Malawians want justice to be done. They are tired of corruption among government officials, political leaders and their cronies who are getting away with it with impunity. They should not be taken forgotten granted that the political support will always will be there.
Corruption and poor leadership are some of the cardinal reasons UDF lost political support. For example, UDF won 85 seats in 1994 general elections. But that support miserably plummeted when corruption and bad governance started eating the political fabric.
It will be extremely difficult for President Mutharika and his DPP to convince Malawians in the 2019 elections that they need another five year mandate unless they demonstrate evidence to clamp down on corruption in government and private sector, improve the lives of the citizens and good governance.
It is inconceivable that looting of government resources continues with impunity. The names of the ‘errant’ individuals and companies should be published in the public interest.