Malawi has lost more than K1 trillion to corruption in just four months this year from July, according to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) update into progress on allegations of plunder at the heart of the country’s government.
The graft-busting body has revealed that since July this year they have received about 181 cases but it has, so far, reviewed 73 cases involving misappropriated public funds amounting K1.2 trillion.
ACB boss Reyneck Matemba made the revelation on Monday while briefing the nation on the progress of fighting corruption in the country.
Out of the 73 reviewed cases, Matemba added the bureau has prioritized 60 cases depending on the individual profile and frequency of the cases.
He further said that about 30 cases are already in court but the bureau will highlight 19 and provide timely updates—among others is the alleged bribery case against businessman Thom Mpinganjira.
“Some sections of the society have been unfairly accusing the bureau of delaying the Mpinganjira case when in fact it was Mpinganjira’s lawyers who made several applications in court to delay the matter pending a judicial review,” he said.
He added that the bureau is ready to proceed with Mpinganjira case and 22 October 2020 has been set as the date for hearing.
Among others, this is what Matemba said:
- ACB legal and prosecution department plus independent veteran prosecutor concluded that the former president Peter Mutharika had no case to answer in the Zameer Karim police food rations case.
- Government has approved new split funding arrangement which will facilitate smooth access to funds. He says ACB has a total of eight lawyers to handle all the cases adding that government has approved new remuneration package for lawyers to help the bureau to maintain the lawyers it has and attract more lawyers to the bureau.
- ACB has issued three restriction notices to Ministry of Health over purchase of ambulances, MACRA in relation to the employment of some staff and Ministry of Agriculture.
- ACB has received 20 cases from Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) whistle-blower initiative and two cases from the National Integrity Platform (NIP).
- ACB and other government agencies have formed an interagency taskforce to fight corruption.
- The case of Zameer Karim has delayed because of contractual issues ACB had with its consultant who was prosecuting the case.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) denied ACB permission to prosecute one of the suspects, Misheck Esau who was Chief Executive officer for CDH bank.
Malawi is one of Africa’s poorest countries, with about 40 per cent of the 17m population living in poverty.