The United States of America embassy says that the Malawi government’s series of actions against the Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma has severely damaged its credibility in fighting against corruption.
In a press statement, the embassy says the Attorney General’s urgent application to vacate a court order issued earlier this week culminate two months of harassment by government of Malawi officials against Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma.
After the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba interdicted the ACB boss, Malawi Law Society President Patrick Gray Mpaka was granted a permission to apply for a judicial review on the case.
However, on Tuesday, 7th February, 2023 the government through the Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda challenged the court order by hiring Kalekeni Kaphale, George Kadzipatike and Chancy Gondwe to represent it in the case.
“I, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, SC [Senior Counsel], Attorney General for the Republic of Malawi of Private Bag 333, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, do hereby authorise and appoint Mr Kalekeni Kaphale, SC, of Kalekeni Kaphale Lawyers, Mezzanine Floor, ADL House, City Centre, P.O. Box 31876, Lilongwe 3, to act for the 2nd defendant in this matter,” Chakaka Nyirenda’s communication, dated February 7 2023, reads.
In reaction to the latest developments, the USA embassy questions the government’s creditibility in the fight against corruption.
“This step seeks to reinstitute the action by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet to interdict the Director General. These measures by the senior officials follow the December arrest of the Director General in the middle of the night in an armed Police raid. Since then, no one who carried out an authorised the arrest has been held to account,” reads the press statement in part.
The embassy continued to say that the commission of Enquiry that Dr Chakwera established produced an imbalanced report and also the report did not address the violation of Chizuma’s Fundamental Human rights.
“The State then initiated criminal charges against the Director General, this most recent step by the Attorney General confirms the government’s intent to pursue those charges,”adds the press statement.
The Embassy of the United States of America says it looks to the Government of Malawi to actively pursue the fight against corruption and not to wage a campaign of intimidation against the Anti-Corruption Champions.
The press statement adds “We actively engaged senior government officials to seek renewed commitment to the fight against corruption, but those efforts have not yielded results. Our shared commitment to Malawi’s development depends on trust that Malawi will use public resources, including development funds, transparently, fairly, and with accountability.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Times Group, Kaphale who is a former Attorney General indicated that he was yet to get the communication.
“It [the communication] has not reached me yet. Since I am based in Lilongwe, I will get it tomorrow, I guess, after which I can take an interview,” Kaphale said.