The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in partnership with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) will conduct lifestyle audits of public servants to recover proceeds of crime.
Both the ACB director Martha Chizuma and DPP Steven Kayuni yesterday separately confirmed the strategy which is part of an interagency effort to ensure the State does not lose out on the assets due to prolonged wait for verdicts in criminal court cases.
But addressing the press in Lilongwe alongside senior bureau officials, Chizuma said the move does not mean that the bureau and other agencies will exempt from prosecution the individuals whose assets will be seized.
She said: “The bureau will be strategic on how it approaches the multitude of cases before it. We intend to tackle the current corruption swiftly with the hope that it takes care of future corruption.
“In as far as the old corruption cases are concerned, the bureau will pursue them with much focus on asset recovery in collaboration with other law enforcement officers.
“We will intensify on the lifestyle audits as per Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act.”
Chizuma also stressed that the ACB will continue working on the unconcluded investigations and prosecutions so that the cases reach logical conclusions.
On his part, Kayuni said the plan was for the proceeds of the seized assets to be channelled into a special fund to directly support national development.
He said: “We are working at full throttle on assets recovery as parallel line to prosecution. Yesterday, we received a preservation order against police officers involved in the K1 billion case. We want funds placed in a special account. We are working on modalities.”
Meanwhile, the bureau said the Malawi Police food rations case against businessperson Zameer Karim and others will continue in September after the court gave a date while investigation into the Immigration uniforms case against another businessperson Karim Batatawala is at “an advanced stage”.
On the probe into the alleged abuse of former president Peter Mutharika’s duty free status, Chizuma described it as a “long time investigation”.
She said: “You may have heard of the bureau’s efforts to interview the former president late last month. During our first attempt we were informed that he became sick. We, thus, postponed the interview.”
Chizuma said the interview will take place this year and that unlike last time, Malawi Revenue Authority and ACB will do the interviews separately.
“MRA will start the interview on August 11th and 12th. ACB will start on 16th August,” she said.
Chizuma also said the bureau will continue with the corruption case against former president Bakili Muluzi which awaits judgement of his challenge before the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on the constitutionality of the case.
She said: “This [Muluzi case] too is still a pursuable case even though few charges will be dropped due to unavailability of some crucial witnesses. We have since communicated to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament about this position.”