Malawi’s outgoing anti-corruption Czar reveals ‘external pressure’: Kondowe talks of ‘so much to be done’

The Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Lucas Kondowe who is leaving the bureau this Thursday at the end of his three-year contract has revealed that there is external pressure frustrating the fight against corruption.

Kondowe: Regrets challenges facing ACB

Kondowe admitted that amid mounting criticism of the government’s failure to take a firm line against high-level corruption, there are challenges bedeviling the graft-busting agenda.

The ACB boss has said after October 26  2017 he will no longer able to continue serving the bureau as he has decided not to renew his contract.

“It’s been an amazing experience and honour to serve the people of Malawi. It’s a tough job but I believe I have done my best to ensure that ACB meets its institutional mandate,” said Kondowe.

Kondowe says he is leaving ACB a very happy man having handled high –profile cases  including the arrest and prosecution of former minister of Agriculture, Irrigartion and Water development George Chaponda and doing what he had set out to do at the bureau.

“When I came to the ACB, it was a mission and I think I have done what I thought I could have done and it is time to move on,” said Kondowe.

“There is so much to be done but I think, for me, I have done the best I could,” he added.

He talked about pressure which the bureau  received from different stakeholders  including media, international community and the public  but not the Executive.

Kondowe defended his term, saying all “reasonable-minded” people can see what he has registered as achievements.

President Peter Mutharika appointed Kondowe  as ACB director on October 8 2014, from First Merchant Bank’s (FMB) where he worked as  general manager for finance, planning and strategy.

“I thank the president Peter Mutharika for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I also thank Malawians, International Community and media for the support given to ACB,” said Kondowe.

Local  analysts say Kondowe  was frustrated by government’s lack of action against corruption.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) pointed out that events at the bureau, such as reports of blocking warrants of arrest and fears of political interference, have led to lack of confidence in its operations.

“We have a bureau widely seen as ineffective but also unfairly using its powers,” said CCJP in a statement.

The President of the Malawi Law Society, John Suzi Banda, said the ACB’s ‘operational independence has been fatally compromised’.

Other prominent individuals are benefiting.

The government  has been widely denounced for  “massive looting” of public funds with the latest report by London-based influential intelligence publication  the Africa Confidential painting  a grim picture for Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the run up to 2019 elections, saying its administration is riddled with widespread corruption.

Africa Confidential is one of the longest-established specialist publications on Africa, with a considerable reputation for being first with in-depth news and analysis on significant political, economic and security developments across the continent.

Reads the report quoting a source within the ruling party: “ Corruption is endemic. We have  senior DPP officials literally forcing parastatals to give them contracts or donations to the party. Once all this strats coming out, the President will be finished.”

The official said those responsible for the blatant corruption are now closer to the President than before an have more influence on him.

Apart from Chaponda , the report also mentioned Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa “ accused of beigng another overnight millionaire and faces allegations of corruption over military procurement.”

The report says several members in Mutharika’s Cabinet and senior officials of DPP who have” become  rich overnight” are being investigated by ACB.

But government spokesman and Minister of Information and Communications, Nicolas Dausi,  has rejected the report  titled ‘Mutharika’s uncertain future’ as “unfair  and baseless.”

A governance and corruption survey report  report, prepared by Blessings Chinsinga, Boniface Dulani, Peter Mvula and Joseph Chunga, all from Chancellor College recommends undertaking of a comprehensive political economy analysis of the implementation of the anti-corruption efforts which it says will be quite critical in terms of identifying barriers to and opportunities for implementation of anti-corruption strategies.

It also recommends review and strengthening the anti-corruption legislative framework because a robust legal and regulatory framework properly enforced guarantees legitimacy.

The report further encourages promotion of a culture of reporting corrupt activities by both citizens and public officials, among others.

Many people who spoke to Nyasa Times said ACB is always influenced by the political decisions of incumbent leadership and also cited the powers of appointment as the weakest link.

Malawi  is consistently ranked among the world’s most corrupt countries.

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The Fall of DPP
Guest

Peter failed to run the affairs of the ministries of Education, Forein Affairs during the presidency of late Bingu. How could we expect such a persistent failure to run the affairs of this nation?

Peter mutharika
Guest

Chaponda is busy holding the DPP rallies and you’re here boosting of being convicted, which conviction, if was somebody who stall chicken could have been charged five years jail term, agalu inu adpp.

Gupta
Guest

Mr. Kindowe, fotseki wena!!! You decided not to renew as if you renew yourself ? It wasn’t going to be renewed anyway.

My advice is start lawyering-up and put aside some of the money you pocketed from Asians, JK and them. Sounds familiar? Ma fayilo anu alipo akulu and will be unleashed soon. Mwana wa njoka iwe! You don’t make noise about fighting corruption ukudya nawutayira makoko!!!

chimanga
Guest

Poor Kondowe…… leaving office without anything tangible. You refer to Chaponda case. Are you counting eggs before they are hatched? He is not yet convicted. Are you proud just because of the investigation? then shame. Go in peace. Three waited years of your life

Igwe
Guest

Boma la alomwe, no wonder, thieves all over

mmc
Guest
What do you mean? You your tribe has no thieves? You mean all these people stealing in the Civil Service are lhomwe? You mean those who were stealing in JBs govt were lhomwe? Check the people in the civil service or organisations and count their numbers as per your tribal mind…u give me the answer…and comeback to say all thieves in Malawi are lhomwe only? Otherwise don’t ever insinuate that lhomwe=thief…its dangerous for u and anyone to suggest that a particular tribe is full of thieves yet we all know who have the positions in CSO or Govt or PVT… Read more »
wakikiki
Guest

If you are talking about chaponda the case has not even reach a stage you could boost about , so what mr kondowe? .We wanted it to go as fast as it can. By this time malawians should have known the truth about it.

kwendakwina
Guest

Hambani kahle no achievement at all except boot licking and shielding politicians

northern economist
Guest

He needs to look after his career, and reputation.

Informant
Guest

Njaunju alikuti gwape Iwe

ngaliba
Guest

Kondowe wanted to finish his term. He could do nothing against executive interference. Why saying it now when his contract has expired. He has failed big time. Celebrating Chaponda arrest? when conviction has not been done on maizegate?

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