Malawi corruption reports worrying factor – Tembo

Malawi’ leader of opposition John Tembo has expressed worry with corruption perception in the country, saying if recent media reports are anything to go by then corruption is deep rooted in government departments and institutions.

Tembo told Zodiak Broadcasting Station’s Tiuzeni Zoona programme on Sunday that corruption remained Malawi’s constant obstacle to development.

“Corruption is rampant if media reports are anything to go by,” said Tembo, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president.

Though he did not cite the media reports on corruption, Malawi’s flagship Nation newspaper has been awash with stories depiction corrupt activities in government.

Tembo: Corruption reports are disturbing

Tembo: Corruption reports are disturbing

Reports

The publication has reported of revelations that millions of government funds are being sucked out through fake pensioner accounts and loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) display a worrying rotten culture in civil service.

It also reported that three companies disqualified in the $76.5 million (K33.7 billion) Indian Exim Bank loan funded construction contracts attacked Malawi’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) for alleged irregularities in awarding of contracts to Apollo International.

The companies have written the Indian Government to intervene, stop three projects under the tender and allow for re-evaluation of the bids—a process they believe was not handled fairly.

The contracts, according to a December 2012 tender, are for designing, supplying, installation and commissioning of a sugar processing plant in Salima; irrigation networks in Salima, Karonga and Mangochi and strategic fuel reserves in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu.

All these have gone to Apollo, a company that was also awarded two other projects worth $80 million (about K32 billion) by MoF in previous Indian credit lines, including the buying of Youth Enterprise Development Fund (Yedf) equipment currently lying idle in warehouses in Lilongwe.

Another story which has been highlighted recently was about the controversial crude oil contract with a Nigerian firm

The paper reported that to facilitate the deal, President Joyce Banda gave Michael Anyiam-Osigwe—who she had earlier appointed as Malawi’s Honorary Consul-General to Nigeria—authority to sign the multimillion dollar crude oil deal on behalf of Malawi, before involving relevant government technocrats.

Crusade

Tembo said there is need for effective crusade to end corruption in order tosecure the country’s future.

President Banda is on record to have said t she will not tolerate corruption at any level and ordered that all corrupt public servants and those in the private sector “should be punished accordingly”.

The President  said she will not allow people in the country to enrich themselves dubiously, warning that all the culprits will not be left scot-free.

“There will be no sacred cows; no protected species and no special ones. As for the bureau and the Auditor General, I want you to join me on this crusade to rid mother Malawi of this evil.”

Banda said she is aware that Malawi continues to suffer from corruption in different ways — from high-level corruption to simple bribery.

Observers say however that the fights against corruption in the Banda administration lacks credibility as ‘corrupt fat cats’ are left scot free because of being well connected to the power-that-be.

Challenges

Apart from corruption, Tembo said the country is also facing other challenges such as hunger

“There is hunger in the villages. There are problems,” he said.

Tembo said People’s Party run government “started very well” after taking over from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika last year in April.

“They started well because most of these problems were caused by DPP. They started to reverse the ills of the previous regime,” he noted.

Tembo said one of the key achievements of President Banda was to restore relationship with the country’s donors.

Since Banda took over, donors have pumped in about $600 million by the end of 2012.

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