By Collins Mtika
Sabre rattling, Malawi’s top graft buster Reyneck Matemba says his fight to contain graft in Malawi borders on his personal integrity and has nothing to do with the appointing authority – the presidency.
“I don’t fear being fired. In fact I cannot be fired. The worst that can happen to me is that I can be re-deployed elsewhere,” Matemba said.
Matemba was trying to deflect insinuations that the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) was ‘soft’ on big fish and only targeted and persecuted the small fish.
“It is the so called small fish that do all the corruption on instruction from the big fish. In many cases the evidential trail we get ends at the small fish and does lead to the big fish. Whom do we arraign in this case?” he queried.
He made the remarks during a recent panel discussion held in Mzuzu under the theme ‘Fraud and Corruption: Strategies for effective preventive measures’, which the Malawi Law Society had organized.
Apart from Matemba, other panelists included Malawi Police Services Head of Fiscal department Assistant Commissioner Gerald Chiwanda, Judge Ligowe of Mzuzu High Court and Brigadier General Professor Dan Kuwali.
More poignantly, Matemba reiterated that all ministries and government departments in the country were rotten as far as corruption is concerned. Not a single one is clean.
“As a country we need to inculcate a culture of integrity, honesty and hard work and routinely conduct integrity check on our officers,” Kuwali said.
He said Malawi needed institutional reforms, capacity building of its officers in ACB, mind set change, citizen empowerment, rewarding of good and punishment of the bad and operalisation of the access to information law.
Youth and Society Director Charles Kajoloweka blamed the ACB for cherry picking on cases to prosecute.
He cited the country’s banks as the sacred cows saying they have been at the epicenter of all corrupt and fraud activities in the country but so far have been left scot-free with not sanctions.
He noted that the legal frame work gives challenges to the ACB leadership to effectively fight graft arguing that calls for stakeholders to assist in the fight become empty calls in such an institutional frame work.
Kajoloweka also picked on the country’s judiciary especially the Judges and claimed they were highly corrupt ‘ but we don’t talk about them. This fight is futile if we don’t pick on the judges as well”.
He proposed a change of focus on the fight against corruption saying they was also need to imposed political sanctions as well apart from the criminal ones which have the sole focus for now