In Malawi, there?s widespread controversy over the suspension of Gustave Kaliwo, the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Members of the Diplomatic Corps summoned Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe to explain the suspension, amid reports that the diplomats were displeased with the suspension and the lack of clarification. Many say the arrest of Muluzi was ill timed on Kaliwo?s part and this is why he was suspended. Kaliwo said last week that he does not regret arresting Muluzi because there was overwhelming evidence against him. Finance Minister Gondwe spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey more about his meeting with the Diplomatic Corps.

We decided to suspend the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau. And I wanted to explain to the Diplomatic Corps why because I think they thought that we did so because he arrested the former president and that we wanted to drop the charges against the former president. So I wanted to explain the reasons why this decision was taken.?

The finance minister says Malawi was experiencing a very difficult time when Kaliwo decided to arrest the former president.

?We had for about eight weeks a very tense moment in the country because the members in Parliament, despite the fact that they said they liked the budget, wanted to vote it down. The reasons ? some of them were political; others were economical?. The former president controls a significant number of members of Parliament and we discussed with the director of Anti-Corruption Bureau long before that he should not take precipitated action against the former president and that he should wait for a couple moments before he takes on the case?. The next morning he did it! And he caused a complete confusion in the country. And certainly, there would have been no way in which the budget would have been passed. And we decided to take an action that would calm the situation and that was to suspend him from duty.?

Gondwe says the Parliament was trying to approve a budget that is vital to completing the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) qualifications for debt relief.

At the time we did it?the most important thing at that time was passing the budget. Because, behind the passing of the budget was what they call the completion point of the HICP, which is extremely important to the country, behind it was also the cancellation of the date?.?

Gondwe says Kaliwo knows why he was suspended.

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