Anti Corruption Bureau Director, Martha Chizuma, has dropped the ball again can’t quit her careless clandestine behavior of leaking sensitive information at her workplace, latest being the deliberate publicizing of a confidential memo from Office of Attorney General which was advising her on payment to suppliers who after delivering a government tender were barred from conducting further business with government.
On February 9 this year, Chizuma had written the Attorney General seeking legal advice on whether Malachite FZE was supposed to get payment for the water cannons it delivered to Malawi Police Service before getting debarred.
In his advice, dated 25th February 2022, the Attorney General’s office referred Chizuma to the Public Procurement Disposal of Assets Act (2017) as basis to have the company paid for the goods and services it had already delivered.
As has always been the case with her moral deficiencies, Chizuma has since leaked the document to his social media handlers and other online sites, to the chagrin of her friends in the legal fraternity and the general populace.
In usual her dirty conduct, the ACB Director might have forgotten of the stamp she had already placed on the document on 28th February. It is this stamp that has given her away as the one who has decided to make it public.
Her fellows in the legal fraternity have expressed shock at the rate she is displaying absolute disregard to the requirements of her job.
This is not the first time for the ACB director to violate the law by leaking sensitive information to the public.
Months ago she also contravened her own oath of secrecy as per Corrupt Practices (Oath of Secrecy) Regulations when she was caught divulging sensitive information to a friend in a leaked phone call.
According to the Corrupt Practice (Oath of Secrecy) Regulations, any officer who reveals any information shall face the long arm of the law.
“Any officer or consultant in the service of the Bureau who (a)except as a witness in any count or in pursuance of his duties directly or indirectly reveals to any unauthorized person or otherwise the contents of any document, communication or information whatsoever which has come to his knowledge in the course of his duties as such officer or consultant; (b)makes use for his own purposes, any knowledge acquired from such document, communication or information, shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding K50,000.00 and to a term of imprisonment of five years,” reads Section 4 of the regulations.
Despite her transgressions she was saved by the State President’s grace when he offered her a second chance to be a better ACB director.
Many Malawians now will have strong doubts on whether Chizuma must be handed another opportunity to continue serving in an office that does not require a person of her careless caliber.
Chizuma’s incompetence has been an issue under discussion not only among her learned folks but lay people as well.
For over a year now she continues to display lack of understanding of legal precepts within her mandate as ACB director.
At one time she was sent back by the Director of Public Prosecution for sending half-baked reports and requesting consent for prosecution over the same.
This publication has seen a request for consent from the ACB to the Office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) which was denied for being incomplete and not following the right procedures.
Furthermore, despite her celebrity status on social media, Chizuma has found the going tough in the courtroom mainly because of her legal unpreparedness.
Some months ago the High Court released one Ashok Nair from detention and among the reasons was the cutting corners by Chizuma in using evidence from foreign elements to arrest people without sanction from the Attorney General.
She has also been found wanting in court in her prosecutorial role in other high profile cases like the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) and Batatawala cases.
Chizuma came to ACB at the back of a social media hype that must have fooled the interviewing panel. Inside sources at the bureau say they were surprised when she was picked for the job ahead of other eminent legal minds with a strong track record in prosecuting cases successfully.
The insiders have also accused Chizuma for sidelining directors at the bureau opting to deal with junior members of staff who she can easily manipulate.
From leaking documents, accusing judges of receiving bribes, trusting social media elements to disrespecting the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution; Martha has done it all.
The woman who was hired with a huge capital of hope is close to leaving the bureau just a year later for failing to align her conduct to the decorum of the office.