Parliament on Friday passed the amendment to the Corrupt Practices Act which now means future appointees to the office of the director general of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will face an interviewing panel but the President will still have the final authority on the appointment.
The passing of the Bill came after several disagreements between the opposition and government sides, which pointed to the possibility of another stalemate.
But Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu played down concerns that it still left room for interference from the Executive.
Tembenu said the new process was in line with the eight pillars of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which comprises the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislature, traditional and faith leaders, media and private sector in the fight against corruption.
The Bill repeals Section 6 of the Act by inserting 6A, but maintains that the director would be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee.
The new Section 6(a) empowers the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to advertise the position and institute a panel of not more than seven members of the public sector, private sector, faith bodies, traditional leaders, civil society and the media to shortlist and interview candidates.
However, the task of the panel will end at submitting names of the successful candidates to the minister who will in turn forward the same to the President to choose one of the candidates as ACB director.
Section 6(a)(4) reads: “The minister shall send the list to the President for the appointment of one of the candidates as director.”
However, the President would appoint the director only from the names on the list recommended by the minister and if the names are rejected, with reasons, the minister would readvertise the position.
Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali said the bill has some of the positives which include the advertisement in the newspaper calling for applications for the post of ACB Director
He commended the provision that a panel would be involved in the selection of the candidate for director.
“The empanelling of an Inclusive Selection Panel -which takes into consideration the Pillars of the 2008 National Anti-Corruption Strategy – tasked with the shortlisting and interviewing in order to select a minimum of two and maximum of three candidates to be shared with the Minister for his submission to the President,” he said.
Munthali also hailed the President’s limited choice to appoint an ACB Director from the 3 names submitted to him.
In 2016, Parliament rejected a motion from the then Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Peter Chakhwantha which sought to ensure the bureau’s independence from the Executive by leaving the appointment to the Parliament through the Public Appointments Committee.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :