ACB fails to name election case bribe suspects

Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba said Tuesday they will not name nor arrest individuals who allegedly sought to bribe a panel of five judges currently writing the verdict of the high profile presidential elections case.

“We do not arrest before investigating- that’s not how we operate. After receiving complaint, we have to make independent investigation and verify on any allegation.

“And we cannot go about naming people at this point in time. What if after investigating we found out that they were not involved in the first place,?” Matemba asked, speaking at a presser in Lilongwe.

(ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba

“We will make arrests, and the arrests will be public and the court hearing will be public and you will know the individuals at that point in time,” he said.

He confirmed that the graft busting body is investigating two individuals on allegations that they attempted to bribe the five judges that are hearing the Presidential election case.

 Matemba said that the matter was first brought up by the Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda on November 28 last year, where he indicated that the judges had complained to him that the two individuals, a high ranking civil servant and another one from the private sector tried to bribe the judges.

He disclosed that then the Chief Justice put the complaint in writing on December 2.

“We did not call the judge at particular time as we understood that they were busy with the case. Even after they had finished, we decided to give them time to rest. We then invited the two concerned judges where we interviewed them on December 28.

“We have been investigating this matter for close to two weeks and we are still investigating and we are making good progress,” said Matemba.

He had also undertaken to breach some of the bureaucracies in the ACB saying the bureau was handling the case with the urgency it deserves.

Political connotation

According to Matemba, the investigations at hand were criminal in nature not political in nature.

“If there is politics associated with this, we have nothing to do with that. We are investigating individuals. We do not prosecute political parties, we prosecute individuals,” said Matemba.

Four more complaints

Matemba also disclosed that the ACB was pursuing four more complaints in related to the presidential case.

He said apart from the complaint from the Chief Justice, the bureau also received a complaint from “a prominent civil society leader, another one is a tip from an anonymous source the last one being from a concerned citizen”.