Retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge Elton Singini last week lashed out at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for its failure to act against perceived cases of nepotism that rocked appointments in the public services and institutions.
Singini said nepotism is classified as corruption by the Corrupt Practices Act.
He expressed these sentiments in his paper which he presented during a Leadership and Democratic Governance Seminar organised by the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) in Lilongwe.
Giving a talk on public trust in public institutions as one of the governance principles in a democracy, Singini said it was a surprise that the ACB kept quiet on recent “talk about nepotism despite the laws also empowering the bureau to investigate corruption offences even without a written complaint.
Said Singini: “Favouritism, an aspect of which is nepotism, in any form is an offence of corruption under the Corrupt Practices Act as amended in 2004, when the United Democratic Front (UDF) was in power.
“It may well be that the talk that has been there in public discourse about prevalence of nepotism and favouritism is mere perception in the minds of the people. However, I would have thought that the vitriol and intensity of the public discourse on these vices, should have jolted the bureau into some action.”
He said nepotism was not only in the appointments but also “talk has been about favouritism in the awarding of tenders for public works and services.”
He argued that even without formal complaint, following the amendment of the Corrupt Practices Act in 2004, the bureau has powers to proceed on its own volition to investigate such corruption offences.
ACB could not be drawn to immediately comment on the issue as its former Director Alexious Nampota, whose contract has recently been in the limelight following reports that he has been fired, said he would not be well positioned to comment.
During the seminar Singini, who talked mainly on the governance principles as enshrined in the Constitution, also touched on the governance principles of the rule of law, declaration of assets, prohibition of use of public resources either to promote or undermine a political party, and prohibition against one individual being chairperson of more than one State body.