Inspector General (IG) of Police Lot Dzonzi says the newly instituted Crimes Investigation Committee within the Malawi Police Service (MPS) is independent and will lead to more efficient operations and coordination of investigations into the fraud and corruption happening in the civil service.
Dzonzi was responding to queries on the independence of the committee and possible duplication of the committee with other departments in the MPS such as the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Fiscal Police and Prosecutions Department Police which carry out similar operations.
President Joyce Banda announced the formation of the committee to be headed by Deputy IG Nelson Bophani on her arrival from the United Nations general assembly in New York last week on Wednesday.
But constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo said while the Police Act did not prohibit formation of special taskforces or committees, such should not be set up by the President.
Said Kanyongolo: “Presidential establishment of crime investigation structures has the potential to undermine the reality and appearance of the political independence of the police, an institution which Section 154  of the Constitution describes as independent organ of the executive.”
But Dzonzi said the committee would comprise a team within the police from existing departments.
When queried what special activities the committee would be carrying out different from the work of the existing police departments and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Dzonzi said the committee would benefit from the knowledge of the heads of the department.
Kanyongolo also recommended a lifestyle audit of public officers as a first step towards seeking accountability for unexplained wealth.
A lifestyle audit is provided for in Section 32 of the Corrupt Practices Act which states that the ACB can investigate a public officer if he “maintains a standard of living above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments or other known sources of income.”