Rhetoric that is fighting corruption in Malawi

The pieces of the jig-saw puzzle that started with the discontinuance of the K1.7 billion Bakili Muluzi corruption case on May 29 last year, have finally fallen into place. And with the discontinuance of the Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s corruption case, the scheme has now moved 360 degrees. It is no brainer that in its grand scheme of things this was the cabal’s target of the whole plan.

In between the Bakili Muluzi case and the Chilima case, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has discontinued several high-profile cases. They include the K16.5 billion tax-evasion case involving Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons (DWS) Limited executives and two Malawi Revenue Authority customs officers and the State versus former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha. The others are the State versus three directors of Paramount Holdings Limited. In the Paramount Holdings case, the suspects were answering three charges related to government procurement deals.

During the same period, the DPP has also discharged several Cashgate suspects after entering into plea-bargaining agreements with the suspects to reimburse the stolen funds.

Also freed were former DPP Steven Kayuni and senior State advocate Dziko Malunda in a case the duo was accused of abuse of office. I am told they were freed because the money the duo was accused of having received for a trip they never undertook was recovered. Of course, some cases were going nowhere.

But the question remains: in the short period that the current DPP has been in office, he has discontinued all these high-profile cases. Why? What is it that his predecessors could not see that he has seen to be making these decisions, most of them potentially very costly on the public purse? He walks into the office on January 19 2023 and five months down the line, he starts dropping the cases one by one. I must doff off to him. He must be a genius.

Well, we have already seen that Chilumpha, for example, whose treason charges were dropped, has wasted little time to claim his pound of flesh from the taxpayer. He is demanding a mouthwatering K24 billion.

Of course, the Attorney General is challenging the claim. The matter is in court. So maybe let us wait and see. But I have problems imaging how you would stop him from getting what he has trained his eyes on. He just needs a good lawyer.

For the others, it may just be a matter of time before they also start making a beeline to court for their claims of billions in compensation. It is a foregone conclusion that the taxpayer will foot all these bills.

Back to the discontinuance of Chilima’s case, which leaves many questions unanswered. The man was arrested in November 2022 after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) named him as being among 84 individuals suspected to have received bribes from UK-based businessperson Zuneth Sattar. The graft-busting body accused Chilima of receiving kick-backs from Sattar in exchange for government contracts. It is reported that further screening reduced the list of suspects from 84 to 19.

The discontinuance came a few days before Chilima was set to take plea while ACB had indicated that it was ready to prosecute the case.

Admitted, the DPP has constitutional powers to discontinue any case in the country. But stopping the process at this stage, after ACB had indicated it was ready to prosecute the case, raises some eyebrows. Why now? What is government afraid of?

More importantly, it makes a mockery of all the efforts to continue prosecuting not only Sattar-related cases, but the country’s fight against graft in general.

It is not outlandish to assert that the discontinuances have been snowballing to make this last one look like there was nothing out of the ordinary. Truth is that the case was potentially explosive.

The post Rhetoric that is fighting corruption in Malawi first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Rhetoric that is fighting corruption in Malawi appeared first on Nation Online.