Guess the villain in food racket scam!

Hon Folks, a polygraph expert is reportedly already in the country to fish out the ACB officer who leaked the report on fraudulent food ration procurement deal in which APM is implicated!

That’s pretty fast for ACB, isn’t it? How I wish the graft busting-body was as swift in pursuing high level corruption case of former President Bakili Muluzi.

How I wish ACB could engage the supersonic gear in establishing the veracity of the claim that former President, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, amassed K62 billion assets in the eight years he served as Head of State and show us which orchard yielded such juice.

I believe Malawians could be assuaged if ACB sought external help to expedite the prosecution of stalled cash gate cases involving hundreds of billions of kwacha stolen from public coffers between 2009 and 2014.

But in all these and other cases in which a corrupt system made the tax-payer victim of massive looting of public funds, ACB engages the business-as-usual mode, moving at a chameleon pace, contented to peddle a hundred and one reasons why we must be patient.

ACB Director Reyneck Matemba sold the speedy internal probe into the leaked report on police food ration deal as crucial to the restoration of the integrity of the graft busting body. In the court of public opinion, I truly believe, the opposite is true.

Nobody disputes that the leakage was wrong, if not outright illegal. But how else could we have known about the involvement of the President in the scam?

The leaked report recommends prosecution of the other culprits but acknowledges that APM—the sole signatory to the DPP account in which the so-called K145 million was stashed—is beyond the legal mandate of ACB.

True. But equally true is the fact that, as an elected leader, APM isn’t beyond the reach of the electorate. The Malawi Law Society believes MPs, as representatives of the people, could tackle the matter if their impeachment procedures were fine-tuned.

On their part, civil society organisations saw betrayal of trust in the manner a gift of K145 million from a fraudulent deal ended up in a DPP account controlled by APM, and demanded that he returns the money and

If these suggestions yield nothing, it remains for the electorate to decide since APM has been endorsed as DPP’s candidate in the 2019 presidential election. Only that the people wouldn’t have known there’s an issue requiring their opinion if it were not for the leaked memo.

I also strongly doubt that, politically shackled as it is, ACB would have allowed a case in which the President is implicated to easily go to court, at least not while APM is serving as State President. In court, defendants can easily open a can of worms in the desperate effort to defend themselves.

ACB management would be hesitant to prosecute the case knowing that subjecting the conduct of the hiring authority to scrutiny could boomerang into an unfair trial of the management itself in a kangaroo political court.

Which is why, I for one, see the whistleblower as a hero, not a villain. ACB may have to follow the due process in light of the leakage but that’s an internal matter. What’s of utmost importance to the public is the knowledge that plunder of Cashgate proportions continues unabated in the APM administration.

We thought we were done with cash-gate when we showed JB the door in the 2014 elections. Indeed APM did not just openly condemn his predecessor for allowing Cashgate to happen on her watch but he also pledged to seal the holes in the Public Finance Management System and bring to book all the culprits.

The revelation of massive fraud in the procurement of food rations for the Police comes after the Auditor General’s office revealed that Ifmis—the software package used in the management of public finance—remains as porous to manipulation today as it was in 2013 when cashgate came into limelight.

What exactly has the APM government done then to restore donor and tax-payer confidence in government’s Account Number One in the past four years? I believe the leaked document and how it will be managed will help shed light on that question.

Again, whether fighting corruption through which an estimated 30 percent of public revenue goes down the drain is as much an issue in the 2019 polls as it was in the 2014 ones is up to the voting public to decide.

What is important now is that a hero who has opened our eyes to the recent procurement racket is being hunted like a mouse while those suspected to have robbed us are happily drinking coffee or whiskey. Welcome to multiparty Malawi!

 

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