By Rebecca Chimjeka
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have demanded that Anti-Corruption Bureau boss Reyneck Matemba should resign “because he is partisan”
The human rights defenders said Malawians have lost confidence and trust in the ACB boss for shielding corruption suspects from prosecution.
“We are asking for immediate resignation of ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba for being partisan, Malawians have clearly lost confidence and trust in Mr Matemba for shielding corruption suspects from prosecution. We further call on Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee to summon Mr Matemba to explain his actions over the recent high-profile cases which his bureau is handling,” Trapence said.
But in response Matemba said the CSOs should follow right procedures if they are clamoring for his removal.
“I am happy that they have targeted me, and not my officers. I have worked in different government institutions for the past 17 years but I have never seen a group of officers that are hard-working, very committed and dedicated to their work as ACB officers,” he said.
Last week, Matemba announced that he had finalized the investigation into the Malawi Police Service food supply contract involving Pioneer Investments. He also cleared President Mutharika from any involvement despite earlier insinuating that the President benefited from Pioneer Investments when they deposited K145 million into the ruling party account which he is the sole signatory.
This, irked the public and rights groups
The CSO expressed displeasure with President Peter Mutharika’s administration for failing to respond to the 10-point petition presented during the April 27 demonstrations.
One of the issues the CSOs, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), have highlighted is what they have described as perceived lack of intent to finalise investigations into the murder of former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director of corporate affairs, Issa Njauju, and former University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.
“Your response to our petition claims that the two cases are still being investigated. We are not amused that this [sic] has taken five years, for example, to conclude the Robert Chasowa case despite seemingly overwhelming evidence pointing to suspects.
“We are reliably informed that government deliberately removed top police investigators in the Issa Njauju murder case just when they were about to make breakthroughs into the case. We have evidence that a Mr Mathanki, Mr Chambo and Mr Nkuka were all unceremoniously stopped from finalising the investigations on the case.
“We believe that this was [a] deliberate attempt by your administration to stop officers from uncovering the truth on who killed Njauju,” reads a petition the CSOs released at the end of a press briefing in Lilongwe.
But Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, said the CSOs have nothing new to say on .
He said they should focus on other activities, including encouraging people to register so that they vote in next year’s elections.
“The sacrifices that these officers make to serve the people of Malawi are beyond measure. As for me, I will say let the CSOs follow the right procedures for my removal. I will gladly leave,” he said.
Trapence said they want immediate dismissal of top Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) management for mismanagement of the public institution.
The human rights defenders are demanding the protection of whistleblowers at Escom and at any government or private entity as a means of fighting corruption.
The CSOs have also said they want an immediate end to the practice of nepotism in appointments of senior government positions.
The CSOs are also demanding that the K145 million which was deposited into the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account by Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments should immediately be returned to the government.
They have also said Karim and police officers implicated in a K2.8 billion food rations deal must be arrested and prosecuted.
Human rights and gender activist Beatrice Mateyo said the 10-point demands that the civil society made in April 2018 had scored 10 out of 100 as the government has failed to meet the demands.
The CSOs have, therefore, announced that they will hold another round of demonstrations on September 7 2018.