The use of amnesties for economic crimes, such as corruption is exceptional, politically sensitive and usually met with massive resistance in most countries. Amnesties for corruption offences are often perceived as fueling impunity and undermining the rule of law.
However, one of the columnists in The Nation-Backbencher- in an article titled “Where art though 30-day corruption amnesty?” argued that “corruption amnesty programmes are well suited for countries like ours (Malawi) which lack the manpower to investigate everyone suspected to have stolen or mismanaged public funds and can be a potential solution to limited investigative resources.”
Concerned with the level of corruption during the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tonse Alliance did not only promise to combat corruption but also to recover all the stolen public funds.
“We have people who are in prison for minor offences, some of them for stealing chickens. We will release them all and replace them with these real thieves. If you know that you are wealthy because you stole money, you should start retuning all of it because when we get into government next year, we will not spare you,” Tonse Alliance challenged at one of the rallies ahead of the 2020 fresh presidential poll.
Having won the election, President Chakwera and his vice Chilima have already demonstrated that the battle against corruption is on top of their agenda, and for the first time Malawians are seeing top officials of the ruling party being apprehended and prosecuted.
Under Chakwera leadership, highest-level officials Ken Kandodo and Newton Kambala were fired for misusing coronavirus funds and conspiracy to make a public officer to abuse public office respectively.
Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa is also currently under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in connection to land deal in which corruption kingpin Zuneth Sattar is alleged to have bribed the minister to get favours.
To effectively deliver on the corruption fight promise, Chakwera roped in corruption bulldozer Martha Chizuma and hired Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda as Attorney General (AG) to replace the inactive and compromised Chikosa Silungwe.
Upon taking over the sacred position, Chakaka commenced processes to seize property owned by private firms and contractors who have, over the years, been engaging in dubious business deals with government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
His target is to recover about K50 billion every quarter from the suspension of business deals.
“Without prejudicing anything, I can confirm that we have been following up on property that has been acquired by these people. This also includes monies acquired through double payments. As such, we promised to recover all that,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.
In line with Tonse Alliance campaign promise, the AG has now issued out a 60 day amnesty to all alleged crooked companies and individuals who have defrauded the public purse in their business dealings or illegally acquired wealth through procurement fraud and corruption to voluntarily pay back the said wealth or face the long arm of the law.
The Government’s Chief legal advisor, Chakaka Nyirenda, has further terminated all the contracts owned by or connected with Zuneth Sattar’s business entities with immediate effect.
Chakaka has really sent all corrupt individuals into panic mode and the thieves are doing everything possible to frustrate his efforts.
As businessman Zuneth Sattar is being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the United Kingdom (UK) government’s investigative agencies concerning suspected criminal acts that he committed, today, three individuals calling themselves concerned Civil Society leaders held a press conference asking the Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Homeland Security to safeguard the sovereignty of the country from foreign interference.
According to Zodiak, the three led by Nathan Chabuka of area 49 Lilongwe based organisation Tilinanu Foundation, Wilard Mhone of Centre for Mindset Change and Melvin Nxumaye of Network for Capacity Building in Education had a tough time to clarify what their press statement presented to the members of the press meant, a testimony that Chakaka has brought confusion in their camp.
Commenting on the staged press briefing, social commentator Onjezani Kenani wrote: “Now I am convinced the thieves are truly scared. When they go to the extent of putting a few terrified-looking individuals together, masquerading as “civil society leaders”, to pronounce that “Malawi is a sovereign country” that should not rely on evidence from the United Kingdom, know that they have run out of viable options. I will not be surprised to see a few chiefs showing up on television screens to pontificate about sovereignty. Listen: Anybody who stole from Malawians will have to face the law, together with their Sattar. Sovereignty must not be a tool for concealing your thieving.”