Anti Corruption czar, Martha Chizuma, is said to be holding on to files that implicate Vice President Saulos Chilima in the Zuneith Sattar probe, we have learnt.
Impeccable sources at the Anti Corruption Bureau say Chizuma has gone silent on the issue even after Directors of Legal Services and Director of Investigations had already given a go ahead for the bureau to proceed.
“She is deliberately sitting on SKC files and doesn’t want to release them to prosecutors. At first we thought it was a matter of procedure but now everything looks odd. She is protecting the Vice President and we don’t know why,” wondered the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Chilima is entangled in a probe being carried out by Anti- Corruption Bureau and British anti-corruption agencies following a phone transcript which reveals that he pocketed about US$ 1 million (approximately K820 million) from Sattar who is answering corruption charges in the United Kingdom.
Sattar has been at the centre of a graft war after he was arrested in the United Kingdom by Britain’s National Crimes Agency for alleged corrupt dealings in Malawi and the UK. He is currently on bail.
According to transcripts, Sattar was owed US$64 million by Malawi Government and had been knocking on people’s doors to facilitate quick payment of the same. He then approached the Vice President asking for a similar favour.
Between May and September last year Chilima conversed with Sattar back and forth, a dialogue in which the Vice President promised to push for payment in exchange of $1 million as his token. Sattar quickly agreed to the arrangement.
The Vice President kept updating Sattar on the progress he was taking in pushing relevant government offices to initiate payment. In one instance SKC is quoted as saying he had approached the Secretary to the Treasury and Budget Director among other key personnel to materialize the deal.
The trail of the conversation went dry for some weeks only to reemerge with Sattar thanking the Vice President that he had received his $64 million payment. He went further to inform Chilima that his $1 million was ready and would advise who to contact to get it.
Sources at ACB say though many people benefitted from Sattar’s generosity, the SKC act smells corruption because it involves inducement by a public officer and solicitation of kickbacks.
The revelation comes at a time when Chizuma has been implicated in a phone call speaking to one of Chilima handlers and UTM supporter under the pseudo name of Orama Namalomba.
The interaction with an insider of SKC system in a way vindicates those at the bureau who question Chizuma’s dilly-dallying on the already low hanging fruit.