Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba says he works under immense pressure due to heavy workload at the graft busting body.
Matemba said this in an interview on Monday in response to an inquiry on whether the absence of ACB deputy director general is affecting service delivery at the bureau.
President Peter Mutharika appointed Matemba, then deputy director, as the graft-busting body’s director general, last October following his former boss Lucas Kondowe’s decision not to renew his contract which expired the same month.
But 11 months down the line, Mutharika who is also the appointing authority for the bureau’s deputy director general, according to Section 7 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act, has not appointed Matemba’s replacement.
Matemba, who refused to comment on whether the absence of his deputy is affecting service delivery, said he has been working under pressure.
He said: “With respect to pressure of work, that has always been the case at the ACB. We always work under immense pressure due to, among other factors, heavy workload, public expectations and erratic funding.
“When I was working as deputy director, I always worked under immense pressure, combining both court work and administrative work. That has not changed. I am, therefore, used to working under extreme pressure.”
The ACB chief, however, said Section 7 of the Corrupt Practices Act does not oblige the President to appoint the ACB deputy director general.
Explained Matemba: “As you are aware, the authority to appoint both the director and the deputy director for the ACB rests with the President. Relevant provisions for the appointment of the Director and the Deputy Director are worded slightly different. Section 5 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act uses the words “shall appoint”, which makes it mandatory for the President to appoint a Director of the ACB.
“Section 7 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act, however, uses the words “may appoint”, giving the President some discretion when it comes to the appointment of a Deputy Director.”
Chancellor College law professor Edge Kanyongolo echoed Matemba’s remarks that the President is not obliged to appoint the graft-busting body’s deputy director general.
In January this year, Matemba indicated that the bureau had only six lawyers to prosecute over 300 cases and only 22 investigators to probe complaints on corrupt acts which they receive daily.
As of December 31, ACB had 119 employees instead of the required 244.
The bureau has been criticised for the slow pace with which it handles various cases.