“I am not satisfied with the Anti Corruption Commission’s operations.You will need to find ways of improving its operations.You should sit down with senior managers and discuss why its performance has been so poor,” Mr Mwanawasa said yesterday at State House.
Mr Mwanawasa said this when he swore-in ACC chairperson, Valentine Chileshe and commissioner Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika.
The President said he would be reluctant to lobby funds for the ACC if it did not improve its performance.
Mr Mwanawasa said the ACC had performed below his expectation compared to the Drug Enforcement Commission.
â€œA lot of cases taken to court by ACC take too long to be disposed of and this has greatly contributed to congestion in prisons.
When I was a practising lawyer, I never saw cases that dragged on in court for more than five years like it is currently,â€ he said.
Mr Mwanawasa was also disappointed that there were many adjournments of court cases, which were delaying justice.
The President asked the Chief Justice, Ernest Sakala, to find time and sit with senior judiciary staff to find ways of addressing the problem of cases, which were always being adjourned.
“Sometimes judges allow adjournments on flimsy grounds, resulting in congestion of prisons.
Very soon, I shall be signing a statutory instrument through which I have committed the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Mr Mwanawasa said.
The President said once the statutory instrument was signed, some of the inmates serving death sentences would face life imprisonment while others would be released.
Mr Mwanawasa said crucial witnesses would have died if cases were always delayed before coming up in court.
He also said witnesses’ memories would have been blurred and all it required to get an acquittal was a clever lawyer.
“They will be asked very nasty questions and witnesses will be scratching their heads or sometimes you (witnesses) will say it is a slip of the tongue.
The tongue is safely anchored there in the mouth,” Mr Mwanawasa said.
He said if the cases took too long to be disposed of, witnesses would find it unfashionable to give evidence against suspects who would be heroes by then.
Mr Mwanawasa also said the crowding of inmates in the country’s prisons was inhuman and needed urgent attention to address the situation.
Â Daily- Mail