A cross-section of lawyers on Wednesday called on the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe former president Bakili Muluzi to establish how he amassed wealth during his 10-year reign. Minutes of a symposium on “The law and the recovery of benefits unjustly accruing to public functionaries: Solutions for Malawians” which took place in Blantyre indicate that graduating lawyers from Chancellor College and their lecturers asked ACB director Gustave Kaliwo to probe Muluzi.
According to the minutes, a graduating student Chrispine Sibande asked Kaliwo to investigate Muluzi which the ACB director refused, saying nobody has complained to the bureau against the former head of state. Kaliwo is quoted as having told the symposium that there is no complaint of any corrupt conduct against Muluzi. But Sibande with the support of law lecturer Thoko Ngwira said ACB should not wait for a complaint but probe Muluzi using Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) to investigate the former president. Section 32 of the CPA says the ACB may investigate any public officer where there are reasonable grounds to believe that such public officer maintains a standard of living above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments or other known sources of income.
An investigating officer at ACB James Chagona said the bureau could use what was raised to assess whether it warrants an investigation against Muluzi. But Muluzi’s spokesman Sam Mpasu said he does not understand the basis of the call because people are not saying anything on how much wealth the UDF party chairman has. “Secondly, although he went into politics, Dr. Muluzi has always been a businessman who put his businesses into a trust. The Constitution provides a right for economic freedom and people just can’t jump to conclusions that if a person is wealthy, then he is corrupt,” said Mpasu.