Corruption will always have different definitions depending on where you are based.
In the United Kingdom it means a constructor choosing to have a silver plaque instead of a golden one at a hotel entrance just because he used the little money for personal gain. While in Malawi it means a guy pointing at a maize field saying “At this place, there was supposed to be a K30 billion kwacha hotel”. All of it went into politicians’ pockets.
Everybody is corrupt, so they say; it just differs on the amount abused.
No wonder a recent report from Transparency International has indicated that European economies (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) are going through tough times due to large scale corruption between the business community and politicians.
It is the same here at home, we common people have nothing to do with large scale corruption, no wonder the Anti Corruption Bureau has become a tool for one politician to punish the other just to settle personal scores.
Memory takes me back to several years back when the late Bingu was recorded telling the then ACB Director, Gustave Kaliwo, to shake up Bakili Muluzi by bringing him to book for his alleged corrupt practices during his reign.
“Shake him up, shake him up please,” we heard.
It was during that period when Ishmael Wadi was fired as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for dropping charges against Muluzi and when Kaliwo arrested the former President, he was fired as well. What a drama!
The firing cost Wadi and Kaliwo public embarrassment but it cost government tax payer’s money because they were paid millions in compensation.
The two went into private practice with Wadi moving to Lilongwe while Kaliwo took his professional skills to Nampota and Company Law Firm somewhere in the posh suburb of Mount Pleasant.
That moment signified Muluzi’s prolonged sickness which gave him the leeway to stay out of the court of law for a considerable period of time.
Now that the ACB cannot bite him anymore (for now), Muluzi is back to normal life to the point of managing to be an election observer in Lesotho last month. Not only that, he was recently seen on national TV advising fellow Blantyre residents not to litter the streets with sugarcane molasses.
Those who wish to think beyond the mark might conclude that the seasoned politician was feigning sickness due to how Bingu used ACB to scare him.
It seems we have trusted politicians too much so as to give them the mandate to influence the affairs of the ACB. For as long as the body is used by politicians, then its impact will always remain minimal.
Look at what is happening now. Since President Banda came into power the embattled ACB Director, Alex Nampota, has not been reporting for duties. The Office of President and Cabinet has asked him to resign but he has chosen to be home and leave things to “guess work” and speculation.
Both Nampota and government are in the wrong. ACB is for Malawians and they deserve to have it operational at all times; efficiently so.
What this means is that the ACB cannot initiate any arrest at this point let alone proceeding with cases to court.
If the ACB has failed to tick with a Director, what more without one?
To qualify your fears, just check the ACB website and you will feel sorry. There is a link that reads “CONCLUDED CASES” and when you go there it is blank with a notification on top “This page will be updated later”. Whaaaaaaatttt???? Don’t make me angry, you mean you don’t know how many cases you have concluded in the past year? Shame!
Oh wait a minute, there is a list of cases indeed somewhere on the home page and it is boring to read “ACB arrests Mzuzu teacher; ACB arrests Police Officer, ACB arrests Court Clerk, ACB arrests fishmonger and so on and so forth”. Who would want to read a press release like that? Be alert, you might end up reading something like this “ACB ARRESTS ITSELF”.
They are indeed a dead organization. Rest In Peace ACB