BY PIJ REPORTER
Information has emerged that the interdiction of the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Martha Chizuma coincided with pending arrests of former Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni and Senior Assistant Chief State Advocate Dzikondianthu Malunda.
The ACB had obtained warrant of arrest for the two from the Chief Resident Magistrate Court in Lilongwe dated January 31, 2023, in connection to misuse of public office offence.
At the time that the ACB was to pounce on the two a letter to Chizuma dated 31 January, from Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba pronounced her interdiction due to the criminal case in which Chizuma is answering two charges relating to her leaked audio.
“The allegations constitute serious misconduct of a public officer and an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB),” reads part of the letter.
“In view of this and in accordance with the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulation 42(3) as read with Regulation 40, you are interdicted from exercising the powers and functions of your office as Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau effective 31 January 2023, with full pay,” the letter adds.
The warrant which PIJ has seen reads:
“Dzikondianthu Joseph Malunda being a public officer employed in the public service in the Malawi Government as Senior Assistant Chief State Advocate at the Ministry of Justice, in discharge of duties of his office in or around June 2021 in Kenya, committed fraud and breach of trust affecting the public by using an air ticket and travel allowances meant for his official travel to Vienna for personal use in Johannesburg South Africa at the Malawi Government’s expense causing loss of MK1, 984, 038.00.”
A similar warrant also indicates that ‘Steven William Kayuni is reasonably suspected of having committed the following offences under the Corrupt Practices Act and the Penal Code, where he misused Public Office Contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act.’
Kayuni allegedly committed the offence ‘while serving as public officer being the DPP on or about 11th of June 2021 while in transit in Kenya abused his office arbitrarily directing Sky Links Travel to change destination on an air ticket from Vienna, Austria to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia costing the Malawi Government a sum of MK7, 498, 197 for his personal benefit.’
Parliament recently approved the appointment of Hilary Chilomba as deputy director general of the ACB. Chilomba is believed to be a sympathiser of the current administration and has strategically been put at the bureau to help in the fight against corruption.
Zamba is secretary to President Lazarus Chakwera who, on 18 January this year, said he had maintained Chizuma as ACB director and repeated that he resolved the leaked audio issue.
In the same televised national address, Chakwera fired Kayuni, for allegedly abusing his office to avenge what he saw as a personal fight based on findings of a commission of inquiry he established in December last year to investigate the circumstances that led to the arrest of the country’s anti-corruption chief, Martha Chizuma.
The ACB director was arrested on December 6, but detained for only a few hours, following calls from other officials, ordinary Malawians, and the British and U.S. embassies for her release.
The commission found that Chizuma was arrested a few days after Kanyuni complained to police that he felt criminally injured by statements Chizuma made in January 2022. In an audio that was later leaked to social media, Chizuma said that high-ranking officials, including lawyers, a judge, and government authorities, were hindering her fight against corruption.