Members of Parliament from the opposition side who contributed to the proposed amendment to Section 5 of the Corrupt Practices Act, saying the proposed recruitment process of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) will still not be independent, arguing it still gives more powers to the President to appoint the ACB Czar and room for interference by the Executive.
The bill which repeals Section 6 of the Act by inserting 6A, says that when a vacancy occurs for the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the minister of Justice shall constitute an appointing panel which shall appoint three names to be presented to the president who will in turn appoint one person as director.
However, the bill also says the president shall have the powers to veto all the three names.
The appointing panel, according to the bill, shall comprise of people from the public sector, the private sector, the faith community and the media, those that are in ACB strategy.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislator for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda said the government has just devised a new way for the president to appoint the director.
“In Kenya and South Africa, such positions are advertised and interviews are done. The public has a chance to see the interviews happening and the selection does not raise any questions, “said Chimwendo Banda.
Dedza East MP Julian Lunguzi (MCP) also expressed reservations on the process of selecting the new ACB boss.
“I may trust the minister today but I don’t know who will be the minister tomorrow. Members of the panel might sympathise with the governing party,” she said.
Patricia Dzimbiri, who is Balaka West MP on independent seat in the House – but is now a UTM party member – said the recruitment process still left a lot to be desired and that they should let organisations one of their own.
“If we really want to make this director independent, we should allow organisations to choose one of their own. The nominees should be forwarded to the President to appoint two from the panel instead of the minister selecting a panel,” she said.
MCP spokesperson on Legal Affairs in parliament Maxwell Thyolera aid the bill should explicitly say which professional bodies from the public sector, the private sector, the faith community and the media should be mandated to interview the future director, saying the president can appoint his loyalists for the exercise so that they appoint a person the president wants.
However, minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said the new bill takes away the powers from the president of appointing the director of ACB.
He said his office would now be mandated to advertise for the post in newspapers and the appointing panel would select three successful candidates before the president appoints one.
“The appointed person would still be subjected to scrutiny by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament,” he said.
Tembenu is expected to wind up debate and respond to queries on the Bill at a later date.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :