ACB Given Three-Day Ultimatum on Judges' Bribery Offer Case
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has been given three days to arrest two individuals named in the alleged attempts to bribe constitutional court judges with the aim of having verdict in the presidential election case apparently swayed in favor of DPP candidate President Peter Mutharika.
The five court judges are currently working on the verdict of the case which they pledged to try make public in 45 days.
The ultimatum was handed to ACB Director General, Reyneck Matemba, in a petition presented yesterday by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which led hundreds of Malawians in demonstrations aimed at forcing the country’s graft bursting body to act swiftly on individuals named by the judges as having offered bribes to sway justice.
In Lilongwe, the demonstrations begun three hours later than scheduled but were largely peaceful along the designated route save for reported pockets of violence outside the set route.
The demonstrators matched from Lilongwe Community ground to Capitol Hill in City Centre where they presented their petition to ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba.
In the petition, the protesters want ACB to name, arrest and prosecute individuals named by the judges and reported to the bureau; a senior civil servant in one of the three arms of government and a senior citizen in the private sector.
The HRDC also wants the ACB to immediately prosecute the K145 million police food ration case involving two senior police officers and Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments.
Reading out the petition to the crowd of protesters, HRDC member Luke Tembo urged the ACB Director General to put aside politics and advance the interests of Malawians.
“We want you to release names of these people because you have them. Let Malawians know who these people are, arrest them and the law should be applied,” said Tembo.
At the beginning of the demonstrations at Lilongwe Community Ground HRDC chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, appealed to protesters to march peacefully.
“Let us not provoke anyone along the way, not even the police. Let us not give them a reason to fire teargas. We are going to peacefully march and present our petition,” said Mtambo.
But when the demonstrators arrived at Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout, Mtambo ordered them to remain there until police released vehicles carrying people from Msundwe, M'bwatalika and Mpingo which were detained at Njerwa police check point along the Lilongwe-Mchinji road.
“We are going to be here until we receive a call from Duncan Mwapasa (Acting Police Inspector General) that his boys have released out friends who are coming from Msundwe to join us here,” he said.
It took close to an hour and a half before the protesters resumed their march to Capitol Hill.
Police Arrest 34 During Lilongwe Demos
Elsewhere police arrested 34 people in connection with violence and looting during the demonstrations.
While confirming the development to Zodiak National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said majority of the suspects were arrested outside the demonstrations route from Lilongwe Community Ground to Capitol Hill.
According to Kadadzera police arrested James Kaonga at Njewa adhock roadblock along the Lilongwe-Mchinji who was found with offensive weapons including a hammer, panga knife, axe and a bunch of keys in his vehicle.
Another suspect David Njirenda was arrested at Kapani adhoc roadblock along the Lilongwe-Mzuzu road for being found with a shotgun.