Politics, Africa

Malawi suspends anti-corruption chief probing bribery case involving top officials

Martha Chizuma faces charges over leaked audio about probe against UK-based businessman accused of bribing top officials, including vice president

Moses Michael-Phiri  | 02.02.2023 - Update : 02.02.2023
Malawi suspends anti-corruption chief probing bribery case involving top officials


Malawi’s anti-corruption chief has been suspended as she faces an investigation for revealing classified details of a graft probe.

The investigation was against a UK-based businessman accused of bribing top government officials, including Vice President Saulos Chilima.

A suspension order for Martha Chizuma, director general of Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), was approved by President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Wednesday.

Chizuma is facing court proceedings on two charges: making use of speech calculated to lower the authority of a person and making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to judicial proceedings, Chakwera’s secretary Colleen Zamba told Anadolu.

Chizuma cannot leave the country during the period of suspension, she added.

Chizuma’s lawyer Martha Kaukonde told Anadolu she was surprised by the suspension order, particularly since the court case has yet to begin.

“She is supposed to take a plea (in court) on Feb. 8. Normally, it’s not supposed to work that way, but it’s been done,” said Kaukonde.

Corruption probe

The case against Chizuma pertains to an ACB investigation against UK-based businessman Zuneth Sattar.

The agency is probing allegations that Sattar bribed 84 senior government officials.

Chizuma’s initial report accused 13 officials, including Vice President Saulos Chilima, of wrongful dealings with Sattar.

Last November, Chilima was arrested on allegations that he accepted money for awarding government contracts.

Chizuma first ran into trouble in January last year, when an audio clip was leaked in which she was heard divulging some classified information about the investigation against Sattar.

President Chakwera, though, backed Chizuma and refused to fire her.

She was arrested last December in connection with the case but was released after the president’s intervention.

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