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ACB Cherishes Relationship with SADC Partners in Graft Busting

Batohi with Malawi president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera at the ACB at 25 anniversary symposium in Lilongwe Batohi with Malawi president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera at the ACB at 25 anniversary symposium in Lilongwe - pic by MANA

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been fighting the complex and transnational corruption in the country for 25 years now.

Fighting the corruption effectively needs cooperation of other international organizations and jurisdictions, says ACB Director General, Martha Chizuma.

“The past 25 years clearly show that we can do better in this regard and we should,” she said.

Chizuma says collaboration with sister organizations in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has been crucial in the fight during the years.

“It is not only the technical cooperation that our colleagues from SADC are offering but also the deep companionship and peer grooming that is indispensable in this space especially at leadership level of any anti-corruption agency,” Chizuma said.

The good relationship that the Bureau has with the member states was crystal clear when it celebrated its anniversary in Lilongwe on 23 November, 2023.

“The presence and participation of our sister organizations from the SADC at this symposium speaks to our deeper wish to cooperate well with other organizations to effectively deal with corruption,” she said.

In leveraging the relationship, heads of the anti-corruption institutions from the region discussed how they can fight the vice effectively moving forward.

“A lot of lessons were picked by us that will form part of our reflections as we try to reposition our strategies for achievement of our country’s aspirations.

“One of such lessons requiring specific mention is that there is need for us to exert the same energy we do with public sector corruption to private sector corruption.

“In view of our aspirations contained in Malawi 2063 agenda it is clear that it is not just any other private sector that will drive achievement of those goals but a private sector that is corruption resistant,” said Chizuma.

South Africa Public Prosecution Authority National Director, Shamila Batohi, hailed the ACB for the “formidable mandate that spans prevention and public education to investigation and prosecution and has made important contributions in enhancing Malawi’s efforts to combat corruption.”

Batohi said that her institution has been working with the Malawian authorities to render its support to the recently established Asset Forfeiture Unit.

“It is commendable that the stakeholders are taking a pledge to fight corruption. We share your commitment to the rule of law which in our case stands as foundation of our democracy.

“Rule of law is not just a constitutional commitment. It is a practical necessity that supports highest growth, greater peace, reduced inequality, improved health care and better education of our countries,” she said.

Batohi also shared her experience working with Chizuma on various platforms in fighting corruption.

“Since July 2021, Martha Chizuma and I have been part of the global conversation among national prosecutors, auditors general and chairpersons of the anti-corruption institutions across the globe. We need a reset of the strategy but it is all about partnership,” she said.

According to her, the rule of law demands not only the protection and promotion of fundamental rights but also accountability by holding accountable those who exercise public powers for their unlawful actions.

“No one is above the law. This includes all of us who are tasked to prosecute, we are too accountable in terms of how we use exercise our powers. We need to do so fearlessly and free from political interferences with the necessary resources.

“No anti- corruption institution can dislodge a culture of corruption on its own. We need partners across society, governments, civil society and citizens. People of Africa deserve better. We need to bring money back to improve the lives of the citizens of our country,” she said.

The Namibian Director General of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Paulos Noah, who represented fellow heads from the SADC member stated, shared successes and challenges that the fight is facing in the region, and, of course, the resolutions.

“On successes, there was a general consensus that there is collaboration and coordination among our anti-corruption agencies,” said Noah.

However, Noah said that lack of skills and collaboration due to limited funding is one of the major challenges derailing the efforts in some member states.

“Anti-corruption officials ought to be well trained in areas especially investigation and corruption risk management. Investment in preventive measures is very critical.

“Since corruption is a crosscutting issue negatively impacting on good governance, participants urged all stakeholders in public sector, business sector, civil society and the media to actively participate in fighting corruption,” he said.

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