Malawi: CSOs Demand Resignation of Malawi's Anti-Graft Chief

16 August 2018

Civil society organisations have come hard on graft busting body Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general, asking him to resign following the bureau's decision to clear President Peter Mutharika over the K145 million dubious donation from an Indian businessman that went in a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bank account.

Pioneer Investment deposited the K145 million into the DPP account immediately after getting a K2.7 billion payment from MPS for supplying food rations. President Mutharika Mutharika is the sole signatory of the bank account held at Standard Bank,

Vice chairman of the vocal Forum for Human Rights Defenders Gift Trapence said the ACB chief Reyneck Matemba has compromidedy his position.

"We have lost trust in him. He is politically manipulated," said Trapence.

The clearance of Mutharika in the dubious K145 million donation came barely days after Mutharika said there was nothing unusual in the donation saying organizations including political parties get donations from various organisations or individuals.

Mutharika described the money as an honest donation.

He claimed that no single cheque was written in his name and that some individuals he did not mention orchestrated the issue to blow it out of proportion.

"I know of a few individuals who were sent by some parties to tarnish my name and the DPP. All over the world, people receive donations and it is normal for people to receive donations," said Mutharika on public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Talk to the President programme.

Matemba, in another interview said it is expected to get mixed reactions on the matter, saying the CSOs have a right of an opinion.

In its initial report, the ACB accused Mutharika of receiving money from crime proceeds but said he could not be prosecuted because as Head of State he is immune from prosecution.

The DPP, through its spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said it will refund the money to Pioneer Investment, a move the Malawi Law Society described as an admission of wrongdoing.

The matter is currently in the High Court in Blantyre where DPP and Pioneer last week argued that the case should be dismissed on grounds that the plaintiff, Youth and Society, does not have sufficient interest to pursue the case.

Political and social commentator Mustafa Hussein said forcing Matemba to resign was not a lasting solution to the problem.

He said the best solution is to encourage the ACB to fight corruption.

Vice president Saulos Chilima has promised that once voted into power, he would put the office of the ACB under parliament and he would remove immunity of a sitting president from immunity.

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