Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba who is on recording saying he strongly believes the corruption case against former president Bakili Muluzi which now enters its 14th year needs a political solution because it is not prosecutable, has told parliament that all parties are to blame for the delay in concluding the perceived politically motivated case.
Muluzi, 78 is being tried along with his former secretary Lyness Whiskey as government claimed 1.7 billion Malawian kwacha ($12 million) in the former president’s account during his 1994-2004 presidency came from donors.
But court documents shows most of the funds were from his business empire and donation for his political party campaign from Taiwan, Morocco and Libya.
Matemba, who once prosecuted Muluzi before he recused himself in the case when he was ACB deputy director general, speaking when he appeared before the parliamentary cluster committee of Legal Affairs and Government Assurances said ACB, the courts, the witnesses, the Executive arm of the government and other stakeholders are all to blame for delay in reaching a logical conclusion of the case.
“In most cases, you will find that people are attributing the delays of the case to the ACB. So I said no. All the parties in that case are to blame. Each one of us has contributed to the delays in that case.
“Dr Muluzi himself has contributed to the delay. As ACB we have also contributed to the delays due to change of prosecutors and leadership in the bureau. You will find others are keen to pursue the case while others are not,” Matemba said.
Matemba holds the strong personal view that no one would come at the bureau and successfully prosecute Muluzi in the case
Actually, all presidents that came after Muluzi, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda and immediate former president Peter Mutharika, have seen the now 78-year-old being involved in endless court battles in the matter.
His former boss director Lucas Kondowe had been on record saying he had serious “reservations” with certain aspects of the K1.7 billion corruption case.
The former ACB boss said before he joined the bureau, his opinion of the Muluzi case was like most people, “which was an opinion driven by the media reports that I had read from various sources.”
Kondowe said when he became head of ACB he requested to review the files to “understand the facts of the case thoroughly instead of just receiving the button and running with it.”
He said: “This is one of the best documented cases I have ever seen at the Bureau with over 16 files of material and a great amount of money spent travelling across the globe, conducting interviews and collecting data and various materials. Thanks to the British government which financed most of this work.
“I have also held private discussions with two of my predecessors who presided as DG(s) at the material time. I will not discuss the details of those discussions as they were private. I have enormous respect and admiration for these two great sons of Malawi for their service to the nation.”
Kondowe said:”I have expressed reservations with certain aspects of the case which I have discussed with my colleagues at the Bureau in great detail. We have had numerous debates on certain matters that I feel strongly about and would like these resolved as they would have dire consequences.”
The former president has always said the charges were politically motivated.
ACB directors that have overseen Muluzi’s case
- 2004 to 2006: Gustav Kaliwo, resigned shortly after he arrested Muluzi
- 2006 to 2007: The late Tumalisye Ndovi, rejected by Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament
- 2007 to 2012: Alex Nampota, re-engaged after he previously deputised the first ever ACB boss, Gilton Chiwaula in late 1990s
- 2012 to 2014: Justice Rezine Mzikamanda, returned to Judiciary, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal
- 2014 to 2017: Lucas Kondowe, left after his three-year long contract expired
- 2017 to date: ACB acting boss and later director general Reyneck Matemba