The Chief Secretary to government, Lloyd Muhara has moved to prevent all government offices from sharing what he calls “sensitive information” without his approval, a way of making this government even less accountable than it currently is.
Muhara’s directive is contained in a memo seen by Nyasa Times to all ministries and departments.
His directive also contravenes Section 11 sub-section 1(c) of the Corrupt Practices Act, which says: “The Director shall require any person in charge of any office or establishment of the Government, or the head, chairman, manager or chief executive officer of any public body or private body or produce or furnish within such time as may be specified by the Bureau, any document or a certified true copy of any document which is in his possession or under his control and which the Bureau considers necessary for the conduct of investigation into any alleged or suspected offence under this Act.”
Muhara is a lawyer by profession and before his appointment to Office and Cabinet, he was aowkring as High Court judge.
His directives comes also after lawyer Shadreck Mhango representing former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo in a cashgate case, asked Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale to serve him with three documents relating to his client’s case.
The documents in question are Treasury Funding Authority Books for the period July to September 2013, Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) Uploading Records for the same period and minutes of reconciliation meeting between the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and government team, including Mphwiyo.
Mphwiyo’s lawyer argued that Kalonga, a former assistant director in the then Ministry of Tourism and Culture, had made “a lot of serious allegations against the first accused”, which he could not ably tackle in his cross-examination without the documents.
The state is dragging its feet to produce the documents which the defence argue are critical to ensuring a fair trial and that it is also in the interest of justice.
In the case, Mphwiyo and 17 others are charged with conspiracy to defraud government, holding property belonging to government, theft, money laundering, fraudulently issuing 24 cheques worth K2.4 billion, abuse of public office and usage of proceeds of crime.
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