Reports that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has compromised its operational independence by developing cold feet to arrest Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) senior official Richard Makondi and businessperson Mohammad Kassam on fraud charges have stirred unease across the nation, especially within Malawi Law Society (MLS), fuelling speculations that law enforcing agencies will act.
Press reports indicate that the graft-busting body has been sitting on warrants of arrest for Makondi, who is governing DPP national organising secretary, and Kassam of Globe Electronics over their suspected roles in Cashgate—the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill exposed in September 2013.
The law society has said the inaction of ACB is “totally unacceptable”, saying there should be no sacred cows in the criminal prosecutions.
On March 21 2016, the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court, in a Criminal Case file number 351 of 2016, granted the ACB its request to arrest Makondi and Kassam over deals estimated in hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money at Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
MLS president John Suzi-Banda has since asked ACB to explain why they find it appropriate to discontinue prosecuting the matter, saying the development could create an impression that there is one form of criminal justice for the poor and politically dispensable and another for the wealthy and politically connected.
ACB investigated Kossam, Makondi—a former Toyota Malawi national sales manager—alongside former MDF Commander General Henry Odillo (retired), Lieutenant General Clement Kafuwa (retired) and former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo on their involvement in a deal where MDF bought about 35 vehicles from Toyota Malawi worth K895 million which the bureau claims were overvalued and did not have specifications agreed in the contract.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :