Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says it may be compelled to subpoena director general of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Attorney General (AG) if they snub the committee again.
PAC wants the two to provide critical details regarding the probe of former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s wealth.
The two heads are scheduled to appear before the committee during its current meeting with various heads of public institutions and government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The committee’s warning comes after heads of ACB, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the AG failed to appear before it in April this year to give an update on their probe. Instead they delegated their subordinates.
This displeased the committee which resolved to launch a public inquiry having noted that the agencies’ had either failed to perform their duties or just decided to hide the information on the matter.
But in an interview yesterday, PAC deputy chairperson Kamlepo Kalua said the committee was hoping that the heads would honour the request to appear before the committee during the current meeting which is expected to take nine weeks.
He said: “If they fail to comply again that would be contempt of Parliament and we may subpoena them which is a serious issue and we would not want to go to such an extent… that can only be the last tool.”
Kalua said the process to probe Bingu’s wealth had been arduous and all the enthusiasm has now died down because people have waited for long.
In an earlier interview with The Nation, PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said they would be re-summoning all the heads to appear before the committee because the information from the institution was vital.
ACB director general Lucas Kondowe and Attorney General Charles Mhango were not available for comment yesterday, but in an earlier interview ACB deputy director Reyneck Matemba said just as he did the previous time, the bureau would attend the meeting “if and when invited”.
Said Matemba: “But I wish to point out and emphasise that the bureau is an institution, it is not an individual. The fact that during the last PAC meeting it was our colleagues that attended the meeting does not, in any way, mean the bureau was absent.”
PAC was last year tasked by Parliament to conduct an inquiry on the issue to establish the truth that during his eight-year reign, the late Mutharika allegedly amassed wealth amounting to over K61 billion. n