Lilongwe, February 8, 2023 – The Embassy of the United States of America is deeply concerned by the series of actions by the Government of Malawi that have severely damaged the credibility of its fight against corruption.
The Attorney General’s urgent application yesterday to vacate a court order issued earlier this week culminates two months of harassment by Government of Malawi officials against Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma. This step seeks to reinstitute the action by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet to interdict the Director General. These measures by senior officials follow the December arrest of the Director General in the middle of the night in an armed police raid. Since then, no one who carried out or authorized the arrest has been held to account. Following the arrest, the Government established a Commission of Inquiry that not only produced an unbalanced report but also did not address the violations of the Director General’s fundamental human rights. The State then initiated criminal charges against the Director General, and this most recent step by the Attorney General confirms the Government’s intent to pursue those charges.
As a democratic partner, the Embassy of the United States looks to the Government of Malawi to actively pursue the fight against corruption and not to wage a campaign of intimidation against anti-corruption champions. We have actively engaged senior government officials to seek renewed commitment to the fight against corruption, but those efforts have not yielded results. Our shared commitment to Malawi’s development depends on trust that Malawi will use public resources, including development funds, transparently, fairly, and with accountability. These recent actions undermine the credibility of the Government of Malawi’s stated commitment to the fight against corruption.