Malawi: Matemba Says Will Leave ACB At End of Contract This Year

14 January 2020

The Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Reyneck Matemba, says he will be leaving the bureau as he has decided not to renew his contract when it ends this year.

ACB director general Matemba and deputy director Eliah Bodole are now addressing the press.

Matemba emotionally told journalists on Tuesday at a news conference in Lilongwe that his decisions are not influenced by politicians.

His comments comes after a barrage of grilling from journalists over the public perception of corruption and of ACB as a biased institution working under the influence of politically connected individuals.

"I have read in social media platforms that I cannot bite a finger which bites me. Which finger. I am here on secondment. I have a full time job with the ministry of Justice where I worked as the registrar general before I came here," he said.

Matemba said he has expressed desire to leave the bureau previously.

The conspicuously charged Matemba, a lawyer and career civil servant, told journalists that he was not appointed by President Peter Mutharika to the ACB but by former president Joyce Banda as deputy director before President Mutharika elevated him as boss and confirmed by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) dominated Public Appointments of Parliament.

Mutharika appointed Matemba, then deputy director, as the graft-busting body's director general, October 2017 following his former boss Lucas Kondowe's decision not to renew his contract which expired the same month.

Matemba has since come under intense fire from some quarters of the society who say the ACB is quick to arrest members of the opposition on corruption charges leaving out the big fish in government.

He challenged the media to name a single opposition who had been arrested by the ACB during o reign.

Matemba, who in 2017 recused himself as lead lawyer in the K1.7 billion corruption case of former president Bakili Muluzi, instead gave out examples of five ruling party elites some of whom are former minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and the former presidential aide Uladi Mussa.

However, Mussa's arrest an prosecution started when he was vice president of People's Party (PP) while in opposition before 'changing goal posts' to be in the ruling camp.

Matemba said the ACB is appealing against a lower case decision to dismiss the corruption case of Chaponda.

After the two hour marathon of questioning and answering, the journalists seemed not to have been convinced with the reasons why Matemba refused to name the suspects.

Matemba said the media practitioners should consult their respective lawyers on legal opinion why the ACB has refused to name the suspects in public.

The ACB boss said he knows he will be insulted and ridiculed for keeping the names secret, but defended his move, saying he is doing so for legal reasons.

Several independent surveys, including those by Transparency International, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) found that perceptions of the people are that corruption is on the rise and that the institution mostly targeted those not affiliated to political parties in power.

Matemba conceded that the bureau lost trust from the public and that this is the time for the bureau to gain the lost public trust.

Before his appointment as ACB director general, Matemba worked at Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs where he served as assistant chief legislative counsel, Administrator General and in the Legal Aid Department now called Legal Aid Bureau.

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