Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba has said the public’s mistrust in the graftbusting body is well-deserved due to its shortcomings and weaknesses.
Speaking during the launch of a Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy for the Judiciary on Friday in Lilongwe, Matemba, however, said despite the shortcomings, there are several dedicated ACB employees who are working tirelessly to combat graft.
“As a bureau, we have our challenges and weaknesses. The bad publicity we are experiencing now is not going to discourage us. We will rather take it as an opportunity to do a better job. We are not going to justify ourselves or being dismissive about the concerns of the bureau’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Some of the perceptions about the bureau are deserved,” said Matemba.
He said the battle against corruption was taking its toll on those fighting corruption, saying “corruption is fighting back”, but said the dedication of the bureau’s officers was inspiring.
“Amid all this, there are people within the bureau who have dedicated their careers to the fight against corruption. Some against the advice of their families and friends. We will fight on and it’s through partnerships like today’s launch that we find hope,” added Matemba.
Turning to the launch of the policy, Matemba said while the country was known for producing good policy documents, but performed miserably in implementation, it was heartening to note that the Judiciary was already putting into action most of the provisions of the policy.
In his remarks, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda said with the culture of corruption becoming endemic in all levels of the society, a greater danger to rule of law and national cohesion was under threat if the Judiciary is also engulfed by evil of corruption.
He said within the Judiciary, judge shopping, judgement delays and outright bribes to judicial officers were pinpointed as areas that could lead to breeding of corruption.
“The issues of forum seeking will be dealt with as well as corruption. In December, we will hold a caucus with all stakeholders on how we can deal with any longstanding delayed judgments. All the three complaints of the public will be dealt with,” said Nyirenda.
The Chief Justice said corruption has dented the country’s image in the eyes of the world, leading to the freezing of foreign funds while also depriving crucial social service delivery of life-saving funding. He described corrupt officials as “devils” killing the country.
Among other things, the launched policy outlines mechanisms in reporting corruption within the Judiciary, formation of the Judiciary Institutional Integrity Committee (JIIC), whistleblower regulations and collaboration with other partners such as police and ACB.
Additionally, the policy entrusts the task of implementing recommendations of the JICC to the Chief Justice and also gives provisions for the scenario where the head of Judiciary himself is caught in conflict with its provisions by letting other officers to preside over his case.