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Monday, February 06, 2006

Chilumpha catches govt unawares
by Olivia Kumwenda, 06 February 2006 - 05:45:54
Vice President Cassim Chilumpha stunned government on Sunday when he pitched up at the National Anti-Corruption Day commemoration in Blantyre after organisers had assumed that he was not going to attend.
Chilumpha, who had been shunning government events, was conspicuously missing from the protocol list on the day’s programme of events, but speakers at the function acknowledged his presence.
Under the theme, “Fight Corruption: Develop Malawi” the commemoration graced by President Bingu wa Mutharika was held in the Comesa hall.
The President was upon arrival welcomed by Justice Minister Henry Phoya and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director Gustave Kaliwo, among others.
Asked to comment on Chilumpha’s missing from the programme, public events principal secretary a Mr. Juwa referred the reporter to Kaliwo.
Kaliwo also refused to comment saying it is an issue to do with public events.
But deputy Information Minister John Bande said Chilumpha’s name did not appear anywhere on the programme because he was not expected to attend.
“We were caught unawares. We didn’t expect him because he has not been attending government functions for some time so we just went ahead to print the programme without involving him,” said Bande who was silent on whether the VP was invited or not.
He, however, said government was pleased with Chilumpha’s attendance as it shows that the VP is part and parcel of the anti-corruption drive adding, “we hope he will continue participating in government business as the VP of the country.”
Chilumpha’s press officer Horace Nyaka said his office does not want to talk about anything to do with the modalities of the event.
And in his address, Mutharika said he was sad to note that corruption is still rampant is Malawi but added it will not weaken him in his fight against evil.
“You will recall that attempts have been made to impeach me because of my strong stand against corruption. I have been told that the move to impeach me will stop if I stop prosecuting those that are corrupt. But having been threatened with impeachment, my determination in the fight against corruption is even stronger,” said Mutharika.
The President also said it is not fair for the opposition to say that government and the ACB have produced nothing in the anti-corruption drive for the past year.
“You may wish to know that one high profile politician and former cabinet minister, has been found guilty of corruption. Others will follow shortly,” warned Mutharika.
Kaliwo also admitted that there is still more to be done in the fight against corruption and that at the moment the bureau has cases in excess of 1000.
“We are setting up mechanisms to reduce the cases by 80 percent by the end of this year. Some cases might be closed because we can’t trace witnesses,” said Kaliwo.
In his remarks, Phoya said his ministry will continue supporting the ACB in the anti-corruption drive as the fight requires collective effort.

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