Over a year since after she was exposed for sharing protected information to outsiders, the curtain is now drawn on Anti Corruption Bureau director general Martha Chizuma.
The Commission of Inquiry instituted to fact-find her December 6 arrest has just found that she must be investigated for her criminal conduct which is contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act.
“The Commission finds that there exist reasonable grounds to suspect that the Director General of ACB committed offences and that she demonstrated lack of sound judgment in the leaked audio. The Commission recommends that appropriate action be taken to deal with the conduct of the Director General of the ACB in so far as the leaked audio is concerned,” reads part of the Commission’s report presented to the President on Tuesday.
The stand taken by the commission proves right many Malawians who called for Chizuma’s chop just days after her phone conversation was leaked to the public.
It is therefore not surprising to see that same Malawians have expressed satisfaction at the report and expect the ACB boss to face the chop soon.
Chizuma was arrested on December 6 in a controversial manner following accusations from Kayuni over a leaked phone call in which Chizuma was heard accusing him over frivolous issues.
Chizuma and Kayuni have been at loggerheads on several occasions in the past, a situation that even forced Parliament to amend the Corrupt Practices Act and give more powers to the graft-busting body.
Social and legal experts faulted Parliament for amending a law to rectify personal differences saying doing so was not a sustainable way of dealing with the country’s legal framework.
Now that her firing is close, random sentiments from the public show that the decision will be favourable when it arrives and that it will allow the fight against corruption to be undertaken in a professional manner.
“It is a good move. The two were acting in a childish manner over serious national issues. If they have scores to settle then they should do it elsewhere not in government institutions,” said one Maggie Nkhoma of Kanjedza Township.
Prince Mkanda of Kawale told Malawi Gazette that public officers should not think they are indispensable when they are appointed to their roles.
“It’s unfortunate that Chizuma grew so big-headed over a short period of time. She needed to realize that her service was to Malawians not her own personal ego. The next director at ACB must remember this to the book,” he said.
In the aftermath of the phone call blunder, President Chakwera forgave Chizuma and offered her second chance to do better.
However, she still remained the problem child and was consistently at loggerheads with the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Minister of Justice and other security agencies.
At one time, Kayuni wrote Chizuma reprimanding her of working in isolation and failing to align with other stakeholders in the fight against corruption.
It was established then that she never attended meetings of a task force that comprises the ACB, Attorney General, Ministry of Justice, Malawi Police Service, Financial Intelligence Authority and Malawi Revenue Authority.
From the events of today it is evident that her exit from the bureau is long overdue and will galvanize the fight against corruption.