HRDC Dares ACB to Go Beyond Arresting
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has challenged the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to successfully prosecute and secure court convictions for corrupt senior government officials saying that is what Malawians expect and not merely arresting suspects.
HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said this in reaction to the ACB yesterday’s arrest of Minister of Energy Newton Kambala, President Lazarus Chakwera’s advisor on Strategy and Manifesto Implementation Chris Chaima Banda and Tonse Alliance partner, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) President, Enock Chihana on their alleged corruption in awarding fuel supply contracts to the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA).
While commending ACB for the move, Trapence argued that for a long time the graft-bursting body has been arresting top officials but has failed to successfully prosecute their cases in court.
Said Trapence, “arresting someone is not enough. You cannot conclude that someone is guilty by just arresting them.
“What Malawians want to see is that when someone has been arrested, they should be brought to court and get convicted.”
Political analyst Dr. Mustafa Hussein looks at the arrests as an indication that the graft bursting body has started acting on corrupt officials in senior government positions which was not the case previously.
“I think this is a positive development, a sign that ACB which all along has been regarded as a toothless bull is now showing that it can bite. This may act as a deterrent to other senior officials who might want to indulge in corrupt activities.” Said Hussein.
State House Director of Communication Sean Kampondeni told us President Chakwera is waiting for official communication from ACB before taking action.
“The President takes the allegations made against the suspects as serious and very grave. He is looking forward to receiving an official communication from ACB on the basis of which he will make a decision.” Kampondeni said.
This is the second time in the history of Malawi for ACB to pounce on a cabinet minister, the first being the 2006 arrest of former Education Minister Usufu Mwawa in the late Bungu wa Mutharika administration.