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 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :