The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has declared Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe a freeman after a four-year investigation into corruption allegations against him failed to yield any substance.
The allegations against Gondwe, which took the ACB probe overseas, related to the manner in which procurement of 2005/6 subsidised fertiliser, funded to the tune of K7.5 billion, was conducted.
The ACB also dismissed suggestions that a docket was also opened against current Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati for allegedly receiving kickbacks during the award of the Nyika-Vwaza Ecotourism Reserve concession to a United Arab Emirates firm when she was minister of Tourism in the first DPP administration.
ACB spokesperson Egritta Ndala told Weekend Nation on Tuesday that at the conclusion of their investigations, Gondwe, who held a similar portfolio at the time he was suspected to have committed crimes, remained unscathed.
“The bureau concluded its investigations in relation to Honourable Dr. Goodall Gondwe and found no evidence of corrupt activity against him to warrant prosecution,” said Ndala, a senior public relations officer at ACB, in her response to our questionnaire.
She also said it is not true that ACB opened a docket against Kaliati.
According to Ndala there is no case so far against Kaliati in relation to the allegations.
“In the case of the Nyika-Vwaza investigation in relation to Hon Kaliati, the bureau is still waiting for some responses from a foreign government authority through mutual legal assistance,” said Ndala, insisting: “The inaction on the case is because we are still waiting for the response from that foreign government.”
With respect to the case against former president Bakili Muluzi which has taken close to six years to date to conclude, Ndala said technicalities are holding it down.
“The case is still in court,” she said. “The matter has taken long because the Bureau is waiting for a ruling on a preliminary objection pertaining to documents which were tendered by one of the prosecution witnesses.”
In the case, Muluzi is suspected of pocketing public money estimated at K1.7 billion.
The case started in 2005.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has also discontinued the treason case against President Peter Mutharika and other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials because Mutharika, as President, is immune to prosecution under Section 91 (2) of the Constitution.