Corruption bursting agency Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo has expressed grave concern about some government departments who delay to furnish his office with information about suspected corrupt public servants when carrying out their investigations.
Speaking during his maiden meet and greet session in Francistown ever since his appointment in April this year, Mathambo pleaded with all the relevant stakeholders to always provide such crucial information expeditiously so that the perpetrators could be arrested swiftly. Mathambo highlighted that in some cases suspected corrupt officers transfer their corruptly obtained wealth to foreign accounts due to the delay by some government officials who fail to provide crucial information about such individuals. Another challenge, Matambo said is failure by the authorities to act upon DCEC recommendations on officers that are involved in corrupt practices. “At times we recommend that the suspect should be suspended from work to give us ample time to carry out our investigations and discover more of the unlawful deeds but some authorities do not act upon our recommendations,” he pointed out.
In some instances, Mathambo told the gathering that some whistle blowers are being intimidated after reporting alleged corrupt practices in government departments. He added, “Let me inform you that it is our responsibility as citizens of this great republic to combat corruption because it has undesirable results. If we allow corruption to spread, the country will lose millions of pula that could have been used to build infrastructure such as roads,” he reiterated. Mathambo vowed to crack the whip on all public servants that are involved in graft. He spoke with confidence that he will not spare anyone who is involved in such acts further noting that even if his son is involved in graft, he will not protect him.
The DG indicated that he is aware of the public perception that DCEC is a toothless dog that only pounces on the small fish while prominent people involved in corruption are left scorch free. He emphasized that during his tenure, even prominent people will face the wrath of the law and if convicted by the courts of law, such people will also be jailed. Mathambo and his team have hit the ground running as they have already established the asset forfeiture department which will confiscate goods suspected to have been purchased using proceeds from corruption. He observed that at times, corruption trials take too long to be finalized while suspects continue benefiting from the wealth they obtained unlawfully which prompted government to establish the asset forfeiture department. Furthermore, Mathambo notes that once the suspect is convicted the property will be sold and funds raised from such sales will be returned to state coffers.
To improve efficiency and service delivery, the DG declared that by the end of August DCEC will open another office in Palapye and another in Gantsi. He admitted that shortage of personnel is another major hindrance to the execution of their mandate as they are only allocated few posts by the Department of Public Service Management.
When commenting on Mathambo’s address, one attendant from the office of the Ombudsman, Itumeleng Mokgesi observed that corruption cases take too long to be finalized as DCEC refers maters to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) which is the only prosecuting authority. Mokgesi suggested that DCEC should engage other stakeholders such as Administration of Justice and DPP to find ways on how such cases can be resolved swiftly. Liwo Marobela questioned the independence of the DCEC as DG is appointed by a politician (sitting president) which can make the corruption bursting agency to be protective of the appointing authority even if they are linked to graft.