Panic around the infamous Cashgate at Capital Hill has given birth to a new intelligence unit to consolidate evidence for the State in the ongoing trials, The Nation has established.
Although police were reluctant to comment on the matter, information available indicates that the unit is housed within the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
“I am not comfortable to comment on that. Ask the ACB [Anti- Corruption Bureau],” said Deputy Inspector General of Police Nelson Bophani who heads investigations in MPS.
Currently with no legal mandate, the basis of the Joint Criminal Intelligence Unit (JCIU), is to investigate Cashgate and money laundering-related crimes deeper than the existing law enforcement agencies would, according to Area 30 sources.
The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) confirmed the existence of the unit, but publicist Arthur Chipenda said it is not under the central government machinery.
“Please check with the law enforcement agencies on the unit you have referred to,” he said in an e-mail response.
The unit so far headed by a British consultant, has pooled together officers from police, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), according to our sources.
The ACB also confirmed the existence of the unit, saying “such joint efforts help law enforcement agencies to achieve desired results during investigations more effectively.”
“There is indeed a Central Intelligence Unit at Police Headquarters and the bureau makes use of it from time to time according to need. The Anti-Corruption Bureau works with other law enforcement agencies when need arises,” said spokesperson Egrita Ndala.
She, however, added that “there is no permanent staff which the bureau has assigned towards this.”
By law, Malawi has no independent intelligence system with Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) housing one within its legal mandate.
The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) headed by former Inspector General of Police Joseph Aironi, is an illegal arm first established by the Bakili Muluzi regime.
So far, the law establishing NIB has not been taken to Parliament and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs last said the law had passed Cabinet level.
When Muluzi established NIB, he delinked the intelligence from police who were in-charge through the Special Branch.