President Chakwera appalled by thieving and corruption of highest order

Maravi Express

In his address to the nation on Saturday night, President Lazarus Chakwera said the thieving and corruption that is coming to light is far too devastating and widespread as trillions of kwachas were plundered without mercy and second thoughts.

The President said the looters and plunderers should expect no mercy once discovered the law will take its course and deal with all corrupt elements decisively.

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The president added that his administration will scrutinize current laws on corruption and where gaps are found to exist, new laws will be enacted to seal the loopholes.

The main focus of his government is that laws must be clear from now onwards, that anybody who amasses inexplicable and unexplained wealth must be asked to clearly account for it and failure to do so should result in forfeiture.

Even now, if there are civil servants that amassed wealth whose origins they cannot explain, the government will use existing current laws to put a hold on such wealth until the said civil servants give a convincing explanation, or it will be deemed to have been accumulated illegally.

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He said no one should ever think they can squirrel away their ill-gotten wealth from the arm of the law as the government will trace all such wealth wherever it exists.

His government, he said, wants to end the nonsense of corruption once and for all, and does not want anybody to think that there will be leniency on matters of corruption.

“The law is the law. It will all be up to the courts to decide,” he said.

The President has since instructed the Minister of Justice to put in place ways of ensuring expedited trials for those facing charges of corruption and also hopes that the courts will punish those found guilty in a way that deters future offenders.

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Accountants, controlling officers and others who were supposed to be guardians of public funds but chose to look the other way when the looting occurred will have to be questioned and investigated.

“There will be no political interference and no sacred cows. Let the anti-corruption agency do its work, and whoever falls into its vast spiderweb will have to face justice as required by the law,” he said.

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All the above require time and patience, said the President, adding that the Anti-Corruption Bureau shall be acting with speed, but it needs time to continue gathering evidence.

“And if anybody in the Tonse Alliance who is holding a public office thinks they can beat the system, they should forget it — the law will catch up with them.”

Chakwera has since discontinued the previous practice of buying new vehicles for the President’s fleet each time a new one comes to power, saying he will continue using what he inherited from Peter Mutharika.

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He has also reduced the presidential fleet by two-thirds in which he will only use 10 cars on his convoy.

He also wants the allowance culture carefully studied and reviewed, so that allowances should not be abused or used as a way of looting.

He also touched on government contracts, saying they shall not be awarded to a small clique of Indians or a few connected individuals but to be awarded in a fair and transparent manner.

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“Even those individuals who control scores of companies, such that companies belonging to one individual find themselves bidding against each other, should forget winning government tenders, as this too is a form of looting.

“There is a growing mistrust of Indian businessmen because of such tendencies. The only way such mistrust can end is by ensuring that there is transparency and accountability in the awarding of contracts.

“It will not be easy but it must be done. That is the only way to have a clean restart as the nation.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima

“Let us support the Vice-President in his work he has embarked on to revamp the civil service. His work is essential in the ending of corruption in our country.

“We, the citizens, must remain vigilant at all times to stop any manner of corruption. We must not glorify thieves. Glorifying thieves encourages the culture of corruption. Ending corruption is the responsibility of each and every single one of us,” said the President.