By Jameson Chauluka
Youth and Society (Yas) through their lawyer, Bright Theu, on Monday explained their interest in the case involving the Malawi Police Service K2.8 billion food supply contract.
Theu, who last week managed to get a court order to freeze bank accounts for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and food — supplier Zameer Karim’s Pioneer Investments, told High Court Judge Jack N’riva that his organization is representing Malawians who have sufficient interest in the matter.
Theu was responding to a questions from Chancy Gondwe, lawyer for DPP and the Attorney General who questioned whether Yas had sufficient interest in the matter.
Gondwe said, by law, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Attorney General have powers to prosecute on behalf of Malawians.
He added that, in this case, Theu’s client does not have sufficient interest in the case to drag his client and Karim to court.
“The law gives powers to the Attorney General and ACB to prosecute and be prosecuted on behalf of Malawians. Giving such powers to every organisation in the country will create chaos. Yas has not demonstrated how it has suffered by the issue at hand,” he said.
Pioneer Investments were awarded a K2.8 billion contract in 2015 by the Malawi Police but questions have arisen following revelations that the company paid K145 million into a ruling a party account whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika.
A leaked report from the anti-graft body also exposed how Pioneer Investments and the police connived to inflate the contract cost.
But Theu in his response, said that although the law gives such powers to the AG, “the current AG is not a likely challenger where public funds are abused by the system.”
“Which Attorney General are we talking about? The same Attorney General who is the Member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has been sued? The same Attorney General who committed the government to paying a loan the second defendant got from CDH Bank when we paid the full contract price of the contract?” he queried.
On the role of ACB, Theu said the bureau is resource-constrained and unable to recover the funds allegedly stolen from the government.
He also pointed out that the main mandate of the bureau is to institute criminal proceedings.
But ACB Director General, Reyneck Matemba, who is representing the bureau as a third party, said it was laughable that Yas was trying to discredit the bureau and, at the same time, asking the court to order it to give them documents they obtained during their investigations.
According to a leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation report on a procurement contract between MPS and Karim, money amounting to K145 million was on April 13 2016 deposited into a DPP Standard Bank account whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika.