MLS wants ACB to ‘promptly' handle bribery claims in election case

Gravel

Malawi Law Society (MLS) has asked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to ‘promptly’ execute investigations and arrests in the allegations that some persons of interest tried to bribe judges who are handling the presidential election case.

The law body said they have trust in the graft busting authority to act accordingly and expeditiously given the public importance of the matter.

“The fact that the report made by the Chief Justice was made promptly should also help the ACB to handle the matter urgently as it is also at the core of the rule of law. Any attempt to bribe judicial officers’ results in erosion of public trust in the role of the judiciary in ensuring there is law and order and rule of law in the country.”

“The need for the ACB to execute its statutory mandate promptly needs no further emphasis especially at this time when we have political unsteadiness following the 2019 tripartite elections. Failure to act has the serious potential to affect all operations of law enforcement agencies creating recipe for loss of public trust,” reads the letter signed by chairperson Burton Mhango and Martha E. Kaukonde honorary secretary.

Mhango and Kaukonde said the ACB as a law enforcement agency is expected to make the necessary investigations and arrests immediately.

“Public trust in the ACB lies in how it handles, to logical conclusion, high profile cases like the one at hand. Any attempts to subvert the course of justice for whatever reason, would result in untold effects on future cases and attempts to fight cases of corruption. The ACB should therefore investigate and prosecute all suspects on issues of attempts to bribe judicial officers.”

Meanwhile, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia has chimed in saying while the details of the report are not publicly known, the nature of the case was sensitive.

"We encourage you to make every effort to deal with this allegation effectively and transparently with any parties found responsible being accountable for their actions."

It has recommended appointing an external monitor from outside Malawi who will also act as a liaison between civil society organisations and the public.