by Gedion Munthali - Saturday, November 10, 2007 - 09:11:43The United Democratic Front [UDF] is the only party
that has been critical of the appointment of Alexius
Nampota as ACB Director since it was made late last
month. Malawi News looks at some of the reasons why.
Nampota belongs to the maiden team of the ACB when it
started between March 1997 and January 1998. Gilton
Chiwaula, Nampota and Victor Banda proposed as deputy
director started the ACB as Director, Deputy Director
and Assistant Director respectively.
The UDF administration removed Chiwaula and sent him
out to head the Malawi Mission in Germany. This
happened after presiding over a number of cases that
caught the UDF administration on the wrong foot. His
legal mind was Nampota.
Nampota was also removed. The same administration did
not renew his contract. Victor Banda is still around
at the Bureau, and has remained in the same post:
Assistant Director, until now when he has been
appointed deputy director.
No reasons were given why Nampota’s contract was not
renewed. However, the decision came after a barrage of
cases which the ACB unearthed concerning government
maladministration. Some of these cases involved some
senior and influential ministers at the time.
In the then Directorship, Nampota was the only legal
mind. He was therefore literally at the centre of all
the legal fashioning of the cases. During
investigation of some, he gave legal guidance. In
short he almost saw it all.
Some of the cases included the Secucom Identity Cards
deal with a Swiss Firm. Government cancelled the deal
amid intense corruption allegations in early 2000.
Another? The UDF led government gave K50, 000 to UDF
and AFORD MPs for “development purposes” in total
exclusion of the MCP and independent MPs. This was
reward for parliamentary patronage. The money has
never been accounted for to this day.
Corruption led to the EU, UK, USA and the Danish
Government to suspend aid worth K1.5 billion pledged
for budgetary support.
A Consumer Association of Malawi report published in
April 1998 showed that over 70 percent of the sugar
business in Malawi was in the hands of a few ruling
party gurus and their sympathizers. USAID sponsored
In fact, the Sugar Corporation of Malawi (SUCOMA) also
admitted the existence of such a scheme, with former
President Bakili Muluzi owning 60 percent of the quota
at one stage.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigated cases
of top-level corruption involving the loss of K187
million at the Ministry of Education, Science and
Technology in 2000.
The loss was registered through improper accounting
procedures, award of contracts to ghost construction
companies, overpayments among others. To date the case
Because of “political interference” the opposition MCP
Chairman of the Committee Situsi Nkhoma was dismissed
from the Committee because his Committee was “treading
on sensitive” ground.
Similarly, a Petroleum Control Commission (PCC) scam
involving ruling party politicians and “parastatal
moguls” was unveiled in 1998. This saw a financial
seepage totaling to over US$ 14million through
inappropriate awards of fuel contracts and receipts of
These totaled US$ 215,507 and US$ 216,000 respectively
from Euro Petrol and “corruptly awarding a consultancy
contract to Humble Energy Limited and receiving US$
27,500 on each count as a reward. The ACB successfully
prosecuted and secured a five year jail term for the
PCC Boss Dennis Kambalame.
The case of European Union (EU) demanding a refund
from government amounting to K650 million which was
diverted and “mismanaged” also took centre stage. This
and several other corruption and mismanagement cases
led to the IMF, World Bank, UK and EU withholding
On 31stDecember 2002 the government announced through
Finance Minister, Friday Jumbe, it was ready to
“apologize” to the Danish Government – then EU chair
-for unexplained crimes in order for them to
reconsider a resumption of aid to the country.
The country watched with dismay how political
corruption penetrated the House on the peak of the
defeated open terms bill aimed at extending President
Muluzi’s term of office indefinitely.
Several MPs argued that although there is evidence
that some MPs were corruptly influenced to support the
bill, the ACB was taking too long to bring the accused
to book. Investigations at the ACB were deemed endless
due to political interference.”
Ironically, while evidence may not have been easy to
gather, then State President Bakili Muluzi decided to
come out in the open and publicly “confessed” at a
public rally held in Dowa district that he funded an
opposition MCP faction led by John Tembo to buy party
uniforms and conduct its convention in contempt of a
court order in Lilongwe in the run up to the “open
terms bill” parliamentary debate.
In the President’s view, this was done to “strengthen
the opposition in the country”.
Opposition MPs were “bribed” by the ruling party to
vote for the defeated “open term bill” aimed at
extending the tenure of office for Muluzi. Some AFORD
MPs openly received K100, 000 “soft money” each for
the same purpose from their party president who had
declared his support of the bill and was mobilizing
his party loyalists to do the same.
This clique finally voted for the bill in Parliament
in breach of party convention resolutions not to
support the bill and, in the process, splitting their
A case in which Apex – a Land Rover Dealing Company
faced charges of corruption through a contract with
the government of Malawi in which it was agreed that
the company sells 110 Rand Rovers to government also
took centre stage.
It is alleged that the procedure that led to the
contract was not proper and that Apex was selling
second hand cars and that because of that, “there
would be an unnecessary expenditure of K152 million
through the contract”.
At the time the country was grappling with the worst
starvation in its recent history because of “criminal
negligence, corruption and mismanagement” of the
country’s National Food Reserve Agency.
The probe by a Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture
and Natural Resources on the “plundering” of the grain
reserves by ruling party politicians and top
government officials was suddenly halted by a
presidential order and the Committee chairman Joe
Manduwa was withdrawn in September 2002.
A month later, the Office of the President and Cabinet
(OPC) ordered an urgent inquiry into Finance and
Economic Planning Minister, Friday Jumbe’s role in the
plunder. In fact, some members of the Committee
indicated that they rejected any report and the issue
The previous Committee report found that, among other
things, 30,000 metric tones of maize donated by the
European Union in 1999 were sold without proper
According to a report by an Audit firm, Mwenelupembe,
Mhango and Company and the ACB, there were
discrepancies in the process and that “by 31st
December 1999, Admarc had purchased 153,739.507 metric
tones of maize when physical stocks weighed
153,338.581 while Admarc showed a book balance of
154,237.608 metric tones” leading to a situation where
some suppliers were overpaid by K9,592,895.00.28.
Over 167,000 metric tones of maize (the country’s
staple food) worth K2.9 billion were dubiously sold
from NFRA to top ruling party politicians and
government officials. The former deputy minister of
Agriculture, Leonard Mangulama and NFRA General
Manager, Henry Gaga, were fired because of the scam.
The same NFRA was alleged to have awarded a K98
million tender for the repair of its grain silos in
the capital Lilongwe to a brief case company, which
had failed to source spare parts and demonstrated no
capacity whatsoever to carry out such work.
The company, GWC, “won” the tender despite the fact
that it had never done this kind of work before
beating other 10 bidders including Equity Trading
Company (ETC), which also bid K98 million and had been
maintaining the silos since 1993.
GWC had since supplied incorrect parts which might
mean changing the whole plant and costing government
an estimated K300 million.
Other cases involving Asian business came under
investigations by the ACB and PAC but were not
concluded because of their financial liaisons with
politicians, judges, parliamentarians and bureaucrats.
For example, while it was difficult for the police to
arrest the politicians and officials involved in the
K2.9 billion maize scam, the police swiftly arrested
the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary,
Francis Antonio, for failing to account for donor
money totaling K130, 000 meant for a seminar on child
Nampota saw almost all these things. He might have
failed to have taken some of these cases to court
because his hands were tied following the politics at
play at the time.
When he left the Bureau he almost kept handling some
of the ACB cases. For example he is the lawyer who
fought on behalf of the ACB Muluzi’s ownership of the
Keza Office Park.
His proposed comrade in arms, Banda, has been there
all this while. Together they are a wealth of
information that would make anybody with skeletons to
It should be obvious that the UDF should be
uncomfortable with his return to the Bureau. There are
so many things he saw, participated in, failed to do
which he may conclude now. Listen to the reaction of
UDF spokesman Sam Mpasu to the appointment:
“Mr. Nampota once served as deputy director of the
bureau and why was he not promoted to be director?
After he left the bureau, he became CAB lawyer. The
question is, what led to his new position and what
cases did he prosecute in this capacity? Were they
“And after leaving ACB, he took over the law firm of
Gustave Kaliwo, who had been appointed director then.
This is a serious problem. These are some of the
issues that Pac will have to investigate before
Nampota starts working at the Bureau.”
Kaliwo is reported to have reverted to his private law
practice working together with Nampota as partners.
Both could not immediately comment to the allegations.
Kaliwo was forced to resign after he arrested Muluzi
and charged him with corruption, theft and abuse of
office for allegedly pocketing K1.4 billion public
money from foreign government and institutions.
Either Nampota already has this information when he
left ACB, and he must have passed it on to Kaliwo when
he went to ACB. Or as partners, Kaliwo has passed the
information to Nampota, in case he has no where to
start from once he takes office.
Conversely, the MCP does not feel any discomfort
probably because the ACB was not around during its
reign, and therefore Nampota did not nose into their
MCP president John Tembo said there was nothing wrong
with the appointment although he was not conversant
with Nampota’s track record
- Malawi News