Most opposition members of Parliament (MPs) who contributed to debate on the amendment to the Corrupt Practices Act are against a provision that the President should be the final authority on the appointment of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general.
In the new amendment, a panel will submit names of successful candidates to the Justice minister who will send the list to the President for the appointment of one of the candidates as ACB director.
Several opposition MPs faulted this amendment, arguing that it still left room for interference from the Executive.
Balaka West MP Patricia Dzimbiri (Independent) said the recruitment process still left a lot to be desired because it would be the minister selecting members of a panel to conduct interviews.
“If we really want to make this director independent, we should allow organisations to choose one of their own. The nominees should be forwarded to the President to appoint two from the panel instead of the minister selecting a panel,” she said.
Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) also expressed reservations.
She said: “It is worrisome that we want to give power to the minister to appoint these individuals. I might trust the minister today but I don’t know who will be the minister tomorrow. Members of the panel might sympathise with the governing party.”
Dowa East MP Richard Chimwendo Banda (MCP) observed that on paper, it looked good that the President would make the appointment to be confirmed by the Public Appointments Committee, but it was not clear how the President would pick the name of the appointee.
“In Kenya and South Africa, such positions are advertised and interviews are done. The public has a chance to see the interviews happening and the selection does not raise any questions,” he said.
One of the few MPs who spoke in support of the Bill, Blantyre City Central parliamentarian Themba Mkandawire (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) commended the provision that a panel would be involved in the selection of the candidate for director.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu is expected to wind up debate and respond to the queries on the Bill at a later date.
The Bill repeals Section 6 of the Act by inserting 6A, but maintains that the director would be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee.