Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has its operational independence compromised in the the trial involving former president Bakili Muluzi and his the personal assistant Lyness Violey Whisky.
Muluzi, who ruled the southern African country between 1994 and 2004, and his co-accused, Whisky,stand accused of diverting at least US$ 13 million of what the State had claimed was donor money meant for various government development projects to his personal accounts.
According to ACB boss, Lucas Kondowe, the graft-bursting body simply has no objective material evidence that Muluzi was siphoning from state coffers during his decade as leader of the nation.
Muluzi, 73, had funds that had been gifted by Libya, Morocco, Kuwait and Taiwan for his political campaign and that of his handpicked successor late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Malawi Law Society said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that ACB’s decisions on whether to further prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion was no longer being guided by the clarity of the objective evidence, but “some relevant matters” that should ordinarily have no bearing on the case.
“We call upon the bureau to boldly explain itself to the people of Malawi why it is failing to prosecute such a high-profile matter with the seriousness and professionalism expected of such an institution,” reads a statement jointly signed by Law Society’s president John Suzi Banda and its secretary Khumbo Soko.
The MLS statement added that criminal prosecution are conducted on behalf of the people of Malawi and “it is imperative that the Bureau should not take the public for granted.”
Reads the statement in part: “It (ACB) should, in good faith, explain its actions and/or inactions clearly to the public.”
Lead prosecutor and graft-busting bod’s deputy, Reyneck Matemba, recused himself on 5 May 2016 from the Muluzi case on “personal grounds”.
The Law Society, has since urged ACB to either “competetntly and diligently” prosecute Muluzi and his co-accused or hand over the matter to Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
The MLS has recommended the DPP to appoint a special independent prosecutor in exercise of her powers under section 100 (1) of the Constutution as read with section 79 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.
The special prosecutor will evaluate the prosecution evidence
According to Africa Confidential publication, in early July, ACB boss Kondowe took the unusual step of visiting media houses to explain that after lengthy enquiries costing billions of kwacha, there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case against Muluzi.
Kondowe claimed to have consulted three previous ACB directors – Gustave Kaliwo, Justice Rezine Mzikamanda and Alexius Nampota – on the Muluzi case and draw conclusion that the case isn’t strong enough.
The ACB boss stressed there is no political hand in the direction of Muluzi case, saying bureau is an independent institution that makes independent decisions – a point backed by Malawi Law Society.
MLS warns that it will take further unspecified action if it is not satisfaied with the wat the case is being handled.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :