BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi’s graft bursting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), is playing delaying tactics in the case involving Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) national organizing secretary Richard Makondi.
Makondi, who also summoned two weeks ago for questioning is yet to be charged as the anti-corruption body alleges that it is waiting for his co-accused businessperson Mohammad Kassam of Globe Electronics who sought a court injunction stopping the bureau from summoning him.
Makondi is being investigated on the role he played in the procurement of Malawi Defence Force (MDF) vehicles when he was at Toyota Malawi.
Speaking with The Nation newspaper, ACB public relations officer Egrita Ndala said the bureau has not yet taken Makondi to court as it is waiting to interview Kassam so that the two can be charged together.
“The bureau filed documents with the court to vacate the stay order [Kassam’s stay order] on 23rd January 2017. The bureau is waiting for the court to set the date. The bureau will interview Mr Kassam as soon as the stay order has been vacated,” said Ndala as quoted by The Nation.
The ACB summoned Makondi for questioning in connection with allegations of abuse of office in a deal that may have cost government K215 million. The summons came eight months after the bureau failed to execute a warrant of arrest for Makondi and Kassam.
The warrant of arrest that the High Court issued eight months ago alleges that Makondi, then a Toyota Malawi employee, conspired to use the public offices of MDF to the advantage of Toyota Malawi contrary to section 35 as read with section 25 (b) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
According to the court documents which The Nation has seen, Toyota Malawi and MDF on June 23, 2013 signed a contract to supply MDF with 35 vehicles at a contract of K895 million.
According to the documents, the contract was signed by MDF’s Clement Kafuwa and then Toyota Malawi managing director Rosemary Mkandawire. Makondi negotiated the contract, which ACB claims was illegal.
Court records also indicate that, among others, Makondi’s charges would include improper payment of k1 billion public money to Toyota Malawi, an expense incurred by MDF without authority, making an arbitrary payment of K894 million to Toyota Malawi for the advantage of the car dealer and possessing K229 million that was unlawfully obtained and possessing K18.1 million that was unlawfully obtained.
But speaking to Maravi Post on condition of anonymity, one of the concerned citizens blamed the ruling DPP for its tendency of shielding corruption suspects who are linked to the party.
“It’s clear that the ACB is deliberately delaying the case because it involves DPP diehard. Had it been that the suspect was from the opposition party by now he could be in prison. It is very unfortunate that the Peter Mutharika led administration is increasingly accepting corruption as a virtue in our society,” said the citizen.
Meanwhile, critics have expressed worries over government’s failure to deal with corruption decisively.