Since Christopher Tukula is yet to be paraded before the courts (at least as I write this) I think the muckraking community should not be scared by the sub judice scare-crow but question – even laugh at – his arrest.
Look, to borrow the lawyerly verbose, I think the arrest Friday evening of the Assets Director is ‘frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process’.
The ACB says Tukula was interfering with the ‘cashgate’ investigations. And you know how Tukula was “interfering” with the ‘cashgate’ investigation? By instructing his clients how to respond to questions by the ACB!
C’mon, good people, that is why we pay an arm and a leg to lawyers; we hire them to guide us how to answer certain questions, even to keep mum if our answers may incriminate us.
For example, Cashgatress Theresa Senzani was instructed by her lawyers to plead guilty because it was the learned counsel’s considered view that that stance was in her best interests. And, by Jove, she got a light sentence courtesy of ‘not wasting courts’ time’.
Now can ACB accuse Necton Mhura of ‘interfering with investigations’ for instructing Senzani to plead guilty?
By the way, Tukula was implicated by a client. What does that put the trust lawyers have with their clients? Are exchanges between lawyers and clients not supposed to be privileged information? Or excitement to be seen to be doing something about ‘cashgate’ should not make us lose our sanity.
But then anything can happen in Malawi. Maybe I am being naïve to suggest that the ACB is being pedestrian for effecting this needless arrest which will, at the end of the day, just inconvenience Tukula but will eventually amount to nothing.
Maybe we should look at the bigger picture. Remember Tukula is Declaration of Assets Director, the first one for that matter. His arrest, therefore, puts in limbo the future of the newly-established office. As the first Director of Assets Declaration office his core job was supposed to establish the office, recruit staff and start receiving the declared assets for the public to scrutinise on demand.
Now remember the idea behind the declaration of assets by elected or appointed officers is to check whether whatever assets they acquire while in office is commensurate to the perks of their offices.
Maybe someone, somewhere, is uncomfortable with this office and wants to delay its actualisation further. By arresting the Director and slapping him with any funny charges they can dream of, however silly they may be, they will have succeeded in delaying the establishment of the office.
Court cases, even stupid ones, take long. Already the 90 days (three months) by which our elected or appointed officers have to declare their assets is long past. But, with Tukula’s arrest, we are back to Square One; we have no Assets Director.
And so someone may claim they declared their assets but, since there is no substantive Assets Director, you and I may not be privy to those declared assets and may not have any way of inspecting – and questioning – the same.
By the time Tukula will be discharged as having no case, his image will be so battered he may not be able to hold the office. We will, therefore, go back to Parliament to give us another Director – a process that may take more years. By the time we come round to identifying another Director of Assets Declaration we will be in the thick of the next election circle to worry about how much someone is enriching themselves.
And so we will be back from whence we begun. That is Malawi for you where things refuse to move or improve.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :