ACB declines to name bribery suspects

Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba on Tuesday refused to name the suspects behind the attempted bribery of Constitutional Court judges.

Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda filed an official complaint to the graft-bursting body that some individuals attempted to bribe the judges who are hearing the presidential elections case in order to sway judgement in favour of a political party.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe, Matemba said it will be premature to release the names of the suspects for legal reasons.

“I will not move an inch to mention the names for legal reasons,” he said.

But Matemba revealed that one of the suspects is a high ranking official in one of the three arms of government while the other is from the private sector.

He downplayed public sentiments that the bureau is taking long to investigate the matter because the suspects are connected to the ruling party.

Matemba said the bureau has also received complaints from a member of civil society and other two from anonymous people.

He disclosed that the bureau has so far recorded statements from two judges on the matter.

Matemba added that the bureau commenced investigations in the matter two weeks ago and the investigations will be done as quickly as possible.

He however maintained that the bureau will investigate individuals and not political parties.

“The complaint from the Chief Justice does not have names of political parties but individuals,” he said.

ACB has been under pressure to immediately arrest people who are linked to the matter.

On Monday, the Alliance Against Serious and Organized Corruption, a civil society partnership between the Church and Society Programme of the CCAP of Livingstonia Synod, Church and Society, Malawi Law Society and Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, called on ACB to deal with the allegation effectively and transparently.

This also follows an earlier warning by the Malawi Law Society (MLS) that failure to act on the matter has serious potential to affect all operations of law enforcement agencies thereby creating recipe for loss of public trust.

“ACB as a law enforcement agency is expected to make the necessary investigations and arrests immediately,” reads part of a statement jointly signed by MLS Chaiman Burton Mhango and Secretary Martha Kaukonde.

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