Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director-general Reyneck Matemba has backed the proposed amendment to Section 5 of the Corrupt Practices Act, saying it will enable the efficient recruitment process of the bureaus’ director if passed in Parliament.
Addressing the press in Lilongwe yesterday, Matemba said the Bureau will soon start reviewing the 2008 National Anti-Corruption Strategy (Nacs) which will see the graft-fighting body engaging an extra gear in the fight against fraud.
He emphasised on the need to include civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Nacs strategy, saying they are key in the graft fight.
Said Matemba: “One of the reasons for which CSOs have discredited the bureau is its independence. As we are talking, Parliament is amending Section 5 of the Corrupt Practices Act. The amendment of the Act is much better than what CSOs are advocating.
“Even the process they are advocating has loopholes. As far as the Bureau is concerned, interference does not only happen from government. It comes even from the position. So the recruitment process is nothing, but what is important is the integrity of the person appointed.”
In an earlier interview, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) national deputy chairperson Gift Trapence told The Nation that there is need to give autonomy to ACB, as such, the President should not appoint the bureau’s director-general.
But both President Mutharika and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu are on record as having dismissed the claim, saying that ACB is already operating independently.
Parliament is expected to amend Section 5 of the Corrupt Practices Act to create a competitive recruitment process for the ACB director-general.
If passed, the position of the director will be advertised so that interested candidates are interviewed for the position and three names of successful candidates shall be submitted to the President for appointment.
On the Nacs review, Matemba said CSOs and the youth will be included in the process as it is one of the pillars for fighting corruption in the country in the next 10 years.
In her remarks, ACB director of corruption prevention Mary Phombeya said her organisation will take the lead in the review because of the expertise it has in corruption fight.
However, she said different stakeholders will be engaged in the consultation and the review process considering that the strategy is a policy document for the government.
In a telephone interview, Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka welcomed ACB’s decision to include CSOs and the youth in the review process.
“But we need to go beyond the strategy in terms of paper work,” he said, adding fighting corruption requires collaborative effort.
The Nacs was designed to address critical elements of corruption by encouraging all sectors of the society to adhere to principles of accountability, transparency and effective service delivery. n