The arrest of Martha Chizuma, the now embattled Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, on the morning of Tuesday, 6th December 2022, has provoked a thought about Pangolin.
A small ugly animal that most of us do not know its value but is highly protected by Governments. People are languishing in prisons because of being found in possession of a Pangolin.
On Tuesday, 3rd January 2023, a Commission of Inquiry, led by a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Edward Twea SC, presented a report to President Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace.
President Chakwera instituted the inquiry to establish facts surrounding the arrest of the Chizuma.
In its submission to the appointing authority, the Commission, among other findings, faulted the conduct of Chizuma and the suspended Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr. Steven Kayuni in the discharge of their duties.
The Commission did not stop there. It went further to recommend that appropriate action needed to be taken to deal with the conduct of the DG of the ACB in so far as the leaked audio is concerned.
Kayuni, according to the report, lodged a complaint against Chizuma with the Police following the leaked audio which the ACB director admitted to having been recorded while conversing with one of her confidants.
Above are the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, duly appointed and its membership was not questioned when it was announced by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
I fear that Malawians would like to throw away the baby together with the washing water. Members of the Commission of Inquiry are eminent professionals in their own right.
However, the public seems to have had a preconceived outcome of the inquiry or determination if the reaction to the findings is anything to go by. The truth, it appears, does not matter to their preconceived opinion.
In the eyes of some people, including development partners especially diplomats, Madam Chizuma should not be touched or let alone be associated with any wrongdoing.
When it comes to Chizuma, they prefer, the law should be ignored because she is “the champion of graft bursting” in the country. Notwithstanding the court ruling in the Mzuzu registry, Chizuma should not be touched.
Despite her own admission that it was her voice in the leaked audio speaking to one Anderson Mwakyelu, her cheerleaders are still raising their voices saying she was trapped.
Trapped to speak about cases the bureau is pursuing with Mr. Mwakyelu? Didn’t she know that the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) does not permit officers of the bureau to discuss such matters with non-staffers?
For sure, members of the Commission of Inquiry have been found in possession of a Pangolin.
Malawians should accept that Madam Chizuma erred by breaching the CPA which as the bureau’s director, she should be the first to defend and see to it that it is respected by every member of staff.
If Martha is allowed to go unpunished, the country will be setting a bad precedence, which will make it difficult to discipline others in the future.
No one is above the law including the President and the ACB boss.
Others are arguing that the Commission of Inquiry concentrated on trivia instead of establishing the truth about who ordered Martha’s arrest.
No, fellow Malawians, the inquiry could not have ignored the issue that triggered the arrest which is the leaked audio.
It is, therefore, only right that President Chakwera should heed the call by the Grand Coalition for Civil Rights Organisations in Malawi to act on all the recommendations by the Commission.
By the way, how many people have been arrested with Martha at the helm of ACB and pursued their cases to their logical conclusion? Maybe she needed to concentrate on the case and court files other than fast becoming a populist Pangolin on Facebook.
Cases are won in a court presided by the same judiciary she said she does not trust, according to the leaked audio.