"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Malawi Law Society wants Bakili Muluzi probed on his Corrupt wealth 12/31/2004, 11:53:18 AM

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.

The symposium, organised by the Faculty of Law of the University of Malawi, and which was attended by Attorney General Ralph Kasambara and Director of Public Prosecutions Ishmael Wadi, agreed that government should look at whether property found to have been amassed through corrupt means could be recovered through a civil matter and not only to have people convicted through criminal procedures as is the case at the moment. Vice Chancellor David Rubadiri opened the symposium. Some sections of the society including non-government organisations have been calling for investigations on Muluzi.