Friday, July 19, 2024

Zunneth Sattar Cornered by ACB as Court orders compliance to surrender plot documents

Sattar-Cornered by ACB

In simple language, here is the issue: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as we all know has the mandate of fighting corruption. Among its mandate is to investigate corrupt conducts such that if ACB wants, it can demand anyone, in government as well as in private to give to it any document the ACB wants in connection with their investigations.

This is pursuant to section 11(1)(c)  of the Corrupt Practices Act which provides that “For the performance of the functions of the Bureau under this Act, the Director may require any person in charge of any office or establishment of the Government, or the head, chairman, manager or chief executive officer of any public body or private body [to] produce or furnish within such time as may be specified by the Bureau, any document or a certified true copy of any document which is in his possession or under his control and which the Bureau considers necessary for the conduct of investigation into any alleged or suspected offence under this Act.”

What happened was ACB asked Companies owned by Sattar to furnish documents to the said ACB relating to how they got plots of land in Lilongwe. The Sattar-owned companies have many plots in the capital. So the ACB asked you, to give us documents relating to your lands, documents such as application letters for your plots, offer letters for your plots, and other documents. These documents are proof that an owner of the land got the plots lawfully.

Instead of Sattar-owned companies complying with this demand from ACB, they went to court to stop that process saying ACB was abusing its powers and other nonsensical allegations.

The Court dismissed the arguments made by Sattar Lawyers as nonsense on stilt such that it has said there is no case for ACB to answer. In fact, the Sattar-owned Companies simply have to comply with the demand from ACB to supply it with the said documents.

If they fail to supply ACB with the information, then a case can be made out that they obtained the plots of land corruptly hence Sattar can be convicted. This, therefore, is a good development, and kudos to Judge Kapindu of the newly established Financial Division of the High Court for dispensing justice in this matter.

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