Public Statement on the Commission’s Public Inquiry Report into the Arrest of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General on 6th December 2022
The Malawi Law Society demands that, apart from the 22 pages that Ms. Colleen Zamba as Secretary to President circulated on 3rd January, 2023, the Secretary to the Commission of Inquiry into the arrest of the ACB Director General on 6th December 2022, Mr Frank Kalowamfumbi, must be directed to release the full Report of the Commission of Inquiry Into the Arrest of the ACB Director General for the following reasons:
- The President appointed the Commission because there were matters of concern to the public about the arrest on 6th December 2022 of the ACB Director General. The President made the appointment of the 12 Commissioners on behalf of the public because there are matters of public welfare in the arrest in terms of section 2(1) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.
- The Commission is on its own accountable and is required to be transparent to the public under sections 10 and 12 of the Constitution and sections 2 and 7 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act when read together.
- The public is entitled to access to information held by the State by virtue of section 37 of the Constitution and the Access to Information Act.
- We cannot fairly evaluate the 12 Commissioners’ output without examining what they have looked at in pages 1-49 of their report which is not available to the public.The authority given to the Commission by the President in a public appointment document circulated on 6th December 2022 specifically required the Commission to zero in on the arrest and not to inquire into the conduct of the arrested. However, pages 50-60 seem to suggest that the Commissioners had different Terms of Reference from the direct question concerning the arrest as raised in the 6th December 2022 appointment notice known to the public. The public must be allowed to evaluate how such possible variance in the scope of assignment might have arisen or indeed there is any variance at all.
The Malawi Law Society therefore calls upon the President of the Republic of Malawi and the Chairman of the Commission and his 11 fellow Commissioners to enhance their own public trust, transparency and accountability by releasing the full report as soon as possible for full evaluation of the context of the findings and recommendations.
Dated this 4th day of January 2023