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The Malawi Law Society's Position on the Leaked Report on Corrupt Practices

Jul 05 2018

Malawi clocks 54 years as an independent Republic on 6th July 2018. It is the best time to reflect on what has been achieved since independence as a nation. For the nation to make progress, the fight against corruption needs to be taken seriously. Where corruption flourishes, there can never be any progress in all sectors of the society. There is no hope except for a few that benefit and would want to proceed with acts of corruption to sustain their lifestyles. The Malawi Law Society is aware of a leaked investigation report from the Anti-Corruption Bureau which allegedly implicated his Excellency the State President Professor Peter Mutharika. It alleged that MK145, 000,000.00 was deposited in a bank account that he is a sole signatory. The Society is disturbed with the facts contained in the report. It is common knowledge that corruption is a serious crime when committed by any citizen. It is even worse when it is alleged to have been committed by a head of state. The citizens of the Republic entrusts the President to guard and protect both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. This trust suffers a cataclysmic betrayal if the Head of State himself is engaged in unethical conduct.

In hindsight, the leaked report provides a platform for discussion whether the sitting President should have total immunity from prosecution if he commits serious crimes whilst holding the high office. It is high time the citizenly acting through their elected representatives consider striping off some of that immunity for very serious offences such as capital offences and corruption. It is also high time that as a nation, we reconsidered the independence of the ACB through the appointment process of the Director of the ACB by amending section 5 and 6 of the Corrupt Practices Act. In this regard, the Society notes that a Bill has been published to amend the provisions dealing with the appointment of the Director of the Bureau. It will be imperative that the Bill ensures that the Bureau is unshackled from the stranglehold of political influence and manipulation. The Society will be making comprehensive comments on the Bill in due course. It is only when the ACB is truly independent that it would be able to execute its duties in the fight against corruption without any interference or fear of reprisals. In the interim, we expect the ACB to conduct its duties diligently and bring all those alleged to have committed corrupt practices to Court for prosecution, including those mentioned in the leaked investigations report.

Going forward, we demand that the office of the President comes out clearly on the matter and shows its commitment to fighting corruption by owning up and taking honorable steps in the circumstances by allowing investigations and prosecution take its course. We join all concerned Malawians in condemning the evil acts of corruption and implore the President to lead by example in the fight against corruption. We urge the legislature to act within their mandate and make laws that are meaningful and beneficial to the nation. We urge all Malawians to take part in fighting corruption by desisting from acts of corruption, reporting them and making sure all that are involved are made accountable. Together, we can eliminate corruption and have a better Malawi in the next years to come.

May God bless our Nation. Happy Independence day to everyone. Let us celebrate responsibly.

Dated this 5th day of July of 2018



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