The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has given the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba (72 hours) 3 days to act on the suspects alleged to have planned a scheme to bribe judges assigned to the presidential election case.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters when he presented a petition to the ACB boss at the Capital Hill in Lilongwe, HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo said the only options available are to name the suspects, arrest them and initiate prosecution or, if not viable, resign.
“Our demand is simple. We want you to act on the suspects. Arrest them and let them appear before a court of law. Alternatively, you may resign. If this is not done in 72 hours, then we will start a vigil at the ACB offices,” cautioned Mtambo.
Matemba, who was heavily surrounded by soldiers, received the petition and retreated to Capital Hill premises without a word.
But speaking during a press briefing earlier on Tuesday, Matemba declined to name the suspects or divulge information on whether the Bureau had obtained statements from them.
He only described the two unnamed suspects as one working in one of three arms of the government and another from the private sector, without giving further details.
The Chief Justice, acting on a complaint from the five judges, lodged a complaint with the country’s anti-corruption body late last month.
He also expressed plans to leave once his contract expires later in the year.
Apparently, the two unnamed individuals are said to have offered money to the judges to determine the case in favor of a particular party to the case who is also not named.
According to Matemba, the Bureau is treading carefully on the matter to avoid legal repercussions.
HRDC held demonstrations in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Zomba on Thursday to call on the ACB to act.
Unlike during other protests, security was tight with checkpoints manned by the Malawi Defense Force and Police personnel.
Weapons such as catapults, knives and machetes were confiscated and several arrests were made at the mounted checkpoints in Lilongwe.
Several incidents of violence have been reported – in Mzuzu, a building housing the FDH Bank was damaged whereas a vehicle that had a Public Address (PA) System at the Blantyre demonstrations has been charred to ashes.