Malawi: DPP Stops ACB From Prosecuting Ex CDH Bank Boss - Zameer Case to Continue

17 September 2019

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will not be prosecuting former CDH Investment Bank chief executive officer (CEO) Misheck Esau for allegedly failing to conduct due diligence and monitor business relationship and the transactions on Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments, a contractor in the controversial K2.7 billion Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations deal, with the financial institution.

This follows decision by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale not to give consent to the graft-busting body to prosecute Esau.

When he was arrested by ACB earlier this year, four charges were pressed on Esau, which include conspiracy contrary to Section 35 as read with Section 25 B of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA); Failure to conduct due diligence and monitoring contrary to Section 29 of the Financial Crimes Act; influencing the use of public office for advantage contrary to Section 25B (2) of the CPA and money laundering contrary to Section 42 (1) (c) of the Financial Crimes Act.

The case was expected to be committed to the High Court where other suspects, including Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments, are also answering charges on the dubious K2.7 billion deal.

But before the court appearance on September 19 2019, the top prosecutor has written ACB refusing to grant consent to prosecute Esau and CDH Bank.

According to ACB boss Reyneck Matmeba, the refusal to grant consent to prosecute came in "brief note that did not disclose the reasons."

He said DPP indicated a formal letter will follow.

But the DPP will be required by law to explain their decision to Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament within 30 days.

However, Zameer case will proceed together with bis two accomplices, interdicted top police officer Innocent Botomani ad Kachingwe.

The office of the Attorney General (AG) is said to have committed Malawi Government to pay CDH Investment Bank, on behalf of a private contractor, in the deal.

The case came to light in June 2018mthrough a leaked ACB investigation report which indicated that government paid K2.7 billion directly to Pioneer Investment against an undertaking by an officer at MPS to pay the contract price to CDH investment Bank Limited.

The direct payment to the contractor saw the bank losing out; hence, the court action.

The investigation report also mentioned the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a beneficiary of the proceeds as Karim deposited K145 million into its bank account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory was President Peter Mutharika.

The AG voluntarily joined the case as a third defendant after CDH Investment Bank took to court Karim as first defendant and The Oil and Protein Company Limited as second defendant in the High Court Commercial Division classified as commercial case No. 276 of 2017.

ACB already cleared Mutharika of wrongdoing in the case, saying the President did not personally benefit from the transaction.

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