The Malawi Nation
September 18, 2003
Attorney General Peter Fachi Thursday said that a bill to amend the Corrupt Practices Act would be tabled during the next sitting of Parliament, but pointed out not all the recommendations will be taken on board. Indications from Parliament on Thursday were that the House would resume sitting around November this year.
Snubbing calls from donors and civil rights organisations that all the recommendations by the Law Commission be included in the bill, Fachi said government is ready to listen to advice, but not take instructions.
“Government is keen to ensure that we have a strong anti-corruption law. But we must do it carefully to safeguard people’s rights and the democratic gains we have achieved so far. Every recommendation must be considered on its merits and democratic implications,” said Fachi. “We have considered a number of them and we are still meeting to ensure we come up with a good law. What I can tell you though is that the recommendations will not be taken on board wholesale. But the bill will be tabled at the next sitting of Parliament,” said Fachi.
British High Commissioner Norman Ling said during the graduation of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) staff early this year that his government expects that all the recommendations should be considered in order to make the ACB more effective. Civil rights groups, among them the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) joined the call, and wondered why government was dragging its feet to enact the law.
Fachi also said the third term bill, abandoned after President Muluzi said he would not seek another term in office, will be withdrawn around October, saying the legal process has not yet been exhausted.
“Last week I thought the legal process with be through by this week, but it has not,” said Fachi, declining to elaborate. “You see sometimes when you are making some of these decisions, you must also consider the legal implications.” The HRCC said last week it was concerned that the bill was not being withdrawn and feared it was being tamed for hidden purposes. But Fachi dismissed the fears, saying government was also keen to make sure that the matter is closed once and for all. “We do not have any hidden agenda at all. We have nothing to hide. The reason is simply that the legal process has not yet been exhausted,” said Fachi.
Fachi has promised in June the bill would be withdrawn before the last sitting of Parliament. After the sitting ended, he said he would withdraw the bill before the end of August as it did not require involving the House.
As for the bill on declaration of assets, Fachi said he arranged a meeting on Thursday with former chair of the Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets Committee Henry Mussa to get enlightened on the issue.
“I think I should have the information on it by tomorrow,” said Fachi. Fachi said earlier he did not have any information on the proposed legislation. But Mussa confirmed his committee came up with a draft bill, which it sent to former Attorney General Henry Phoya for his consideration. Phoya acknowledged possessing the bill.