Sunday, December 22, 2013

No rest for cash-gate investigators – DPP, ACB

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have dismissed fears that investigations into the looting of public resources at Capital Hill would be negatively affected following the leave of absence granted to civil servants and public workers.

The government granted civil servants a leave of absence from December 16, 2013 to January 3 next year, raising fears that the development would cripple public services including on-going investigations into the plunder dubbed ‘cash-gate’.

DPP Bruno Kalemba indicated in a written response on Thursday that officers assigned to the issue would continue working around the clock.

“We have not stopped working, nor have the courts, police. Our operations have not been affected,” Kalemba said.

On the issue of property seizure warrants issues on people suspected of having a role in cash-gate, Kalemba said the warrants extend to movable, immovable property, and bank accounts.

He said his office was working in collaboration with the Malawi Police Service and would issue a report of seized property once it gets a report on the same from MPS.

“The police will issue a report to us and we will, in turn, report to court (and) that is when we will have the actual figures,” Kalemba said.

Meanwhile, the ACB has also said that it continued to work on all pressing issues, and that the leave of absence would not hamper its operations.

“There are people who are working. In fact, those who want to report issues to the ACB can visit our offices and will be assisted because there are people who are working there. Not all members of staff go on leave on absence and this is what we do every year when there are such holidays; it is not the first time we are doing it,” Ndala said.

Institute for Policy Interaction executive director, Rafiq Hajat, said allowing officials involved in investigating cash-gate on leave of absence could send wrong signals to the outside world, and portray the government as lacking seriousness.

“It would be discouraging to see people who are investigating the issue go on leave of absence, especially when people like the British forensic experts who are helping the government with investigations continue to work on the issue. The information I have is that these people continue to work in spite of the holiday. The government should be seen to be serious,” Hajat said.

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