The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has received an unusual praise from Centre for Development of People (Cedep), one of the fierce critics of the bureau’s operations, following the arrest of former Roads Authority (RA) boss Trevor Hiwa.
However, the rights body has urged the graft-busting institution stop “growing cold feet” when the matter involves a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or government official suspected of the vice.
“Centre for Development of People wishes to convey its heartfelt congratulations to the Ant-Corruption Bureau on finally arresting the former chief executive officer for the Roads Authority, Engineer Trevor Hiwa,” Cedep executive director Gift Trapence said in a statement yesterday.
The ACB arrested Hiwa in Lilongwe on Tuesday for corruptly awarding his company, Infracon Limited, a K217 million World Bank contract to design and supervise various roads construction projects in Central and Southern regions, bypassing the RA’s Internal Procurement Committee (IPC) and without declaring interest.
Cedep said it had always emphasized on the need to holistically and non-selectively intensify efforts in the fight against corruption.
But the organisation observed for a sometime ACB has been fighting corruption selectively with only cases involving people of low status in society being prosecuted for the malpractice.
“This has left out the major culprits of the malpractice who go scot free and unprosecuted. This is why as CEDEP we wish to congratulate the ACB on arresting Hiwa,” said Trapence.
He, however, said it was one thing to arrest an individual and yet another to see the case being brought to logical conclusion.
“Our call to ACB is that it must make sure that the case of Hiwa is brought to its logical conclusion. The case must not drag unnecessarily. We wish also to remind ACB to effect arrests and conclude cases of all other high profile cases,” he urged.
Reacting to the statement, ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala said they arrested Hiwa after investigations revealed there was evidence of wrong doing.
She said ACB follows legal procedures before taking action as any illegality could be costly not just to the bureau but the nation too.
“The bureau cannot make arrests on matters where investigations have not been concluded except in special
circumstances where it has intelligence that a suspect is about to flee the country.
“It should also be understood that the bureau works with limited resources both financial and human. This means that it can only work on cases which the limited resources can accommodate,” she said.