Malawi cashgate and international aid

It is welcome news that British aid to Malawi has produced a forensic audit of Malawi government accounts by Baker Tilly and that German aid is about to produce another similar audit by Price Waterhouse. Maybe there will be some more arrests. Maybe the reports will be made public.

It is certain that Aid-money will flow into these London accountancy-firms and not, for a while, directly into the pockets of Malawian politicians and public servants.baker tilly

Before the British and German donors finish congratulating themselves on their own integrity, and before they start condemning Malawi as a “leaky bucket”, perhaps they should explain to their own taxpayers how they allowed their own aid money to leak from Government departments in Lilongwe for at least ten years at a rate equivalent to their own contributions to the Malawian Budget(30%).

The criminals will, of course, all be Malawians, and some will go to prison, but their guilt must be shared by the British and German International Development officials in London and Frankfurt who have assured their own taxpayers for many years that their money is going to the poor people of Malawi. They will not, of course, go to prison. In fact they will continue to pretend to be saints.

If we think we have solved the problem of Cashgate by stopping aid-money going directly to Malawi’s government in Budget Support, and by locking up some Malawian civil servants, then we will find that we need to think more deeply.

If international aid money, which continues to flow into Malawi much as before, simply goes to a mass of Malawian NGOs, instead of to Capital Hill in Lilongwe, the corruption only spreads more widely in Malawi. It is not eliminated and it probably becomes much more difficult to control.

The price of honest government in Lilongwe, London and Berlin is “eternal vigilance” on the part of ordinary Malawian, British, USA, German taxpayers as they try to control their public officers and refuse to accept their comfortable lies. We may have to accept that International Aid has failed completely in Malawi and needs to be completely reformed, or totally eliminated.

  • Nick Wright formely Africa Confidential’s Malawi correspondent  is now based exclusively in London and writes this for Nyasa Times
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12 thoughts on “Malawi cashgate and international aid”

  1. Vyapasi says:

    By extending the audit period our court systems will realize Ms. Senzani has been stealing ever since and therefore does not deserve a suspended sentence or 3 years in prison. What she refunded is only partial of her massive accumulated stolen wealth.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good idea i support your coment but am dead laughing now, you mean donors they must give us the aid money to share? if so i would like to hear the response from donors about our proposal of giving us our share, statistically how much do you think $500m that was went missing can we share per person, let me think, divide by 20million Malawian citizen ——–

  3. johnM says:

    I am one who does not believe in AID. Countries can develop without AID, how did Britain develop? Were there International organization such as IMF, World Bank which assisted it with loans? Of not. Did Britain receive grants from other developed countries in the world? Of not. Britain developed the way all other countries should develop, with proper fiscal management and proper investment in activities that made sense and were to be of beneficial in the future.

    AID should be eliminated altogether because very few people benefit from it. Ask the ordinary villager in Malawi if there is a difference in his life before AID was cut and now and the most likely answer will be no. AID never trickles to the people on the ground.

  4. duman says:

    Zimenezo ndizimene timafuna, mumangolimbikila 13billion kuyiwala yanu musova ndithu. Mwatibera kokwanila ndipo ndizachidziwikile kuti boma limene lilipoli motsogozedwa ndi munthu wopanda manoyu zikuvutani. Pempho, madonors with-hold ur aid

  5. The most vulnerable communities must be trained on formation of a well organized
    community development council that will identify areas needing urgent attention come up with a modern sustainable plan that will last (Expert involvement required)
    Only a few selected signatories are allowed to make withdraws whereby a detailed account
    with proven physical evidence will be copied to all members of the committee and non members to come in as witnesses. “NGO’s and Government must stop handling AID money with immediate effect he lets we die in poverty unless we act on this NOTHING is ever going to change for the POOR

  6. Nobel says:

    Its obvious that these donors did not expect DPP to bounce back into power. It came as a shocker for sure so thats why the Germany govt wants to conduct forensic audit involving the much touted MK92 billion. Its quite interesting to hear about this forensic audit while the president says there’s nothing like 92 billion kwacha missing, really Mr. President? Lets wait and see.

  7. Victor Phiri says:

    Federalism is the solution not unitary government in which too much power is in the hands of one individual

  8. zanga phe says:

    of course its leakage bucket but pliz those guys who are involved in the cash gate they deserves stiffer punishment to deter others, it is very unfair that the other guy in chitipa has been charged with seven years imprisonment for stealing assorted item worthy 500000, while other person who stole 65000000 , only to be charged 2years imprisonment and says its too much, where is justice in Malawi. to be poor should not be a reason for injustice

  9. Jando says:

    The foreign aid should consider majority poor people in malawi

  10. zakakaliya mulopwiya says:

    Hahaha koma kumeneko. Timangowona ngati PP led govt inali yakuba yokha. Tiwona za 92 billion kwacha kuti zitha bwa. Enafe zimatiwawa kuwona Ena enjoying with stolen money while poor Malawians sleeping on empty stomach. These are killers and needs to be punished. Audit very welcome and I am very happy for that.

  11. Alfred Munduwabo says:

    You mean giving money to individuals ? Please don’t joke with donors , already we are feeling the results of donors not supporting the Warm Heart , nothing is moving. The word cashgate is the most spoken word.

  12. good idea says:

    Malawi is quoted as a leaking bucket. A bucket which doesn’t hold water any more. This is shame. Pliz donors dont stop giving aid to Malawi. The poorest Malawians will perish. The only good solution now is to give an individual. We are less than 20, 000, 000 people.

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