No sacred cows, no untouchables in fighting corruption – Mutharika

Malawian President Peter Mutharika will not have sacred cows in its bid to combat corruption in the country.

Mutharika in his address during the opening of Parliament in the capital Lilongwe on Tuesday said a successful fight against corruption will inevitably ensure accountability, responsibility, transparency and good corporate governance both in public and private sectors.

The President said no country can development in a situation where people steal money at will.

State President Peter Mutharika delivers the state nation of Address to mark the official opening of 45th session of Parliment.-pic by Lisa Vintulla

State President Peter Mutharika delivers the state nation of Address to mark the official opening of 45th session of Parliment.-pic by Lisa Vintulla

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, corruption is evil as it deprives the people of Malawi, particularly the poor, of their legitimate right to economic prosperity by diverting resources meant for socio-economic development into the pockets of a few greedy individuals. It also scares away potential investors,” he said.

Mutharika whose most part of his speech was derived from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) manifesto, said his administration will, therefore, maintain “zero tolerance to corruption, fraud, theft and any other economic crime.”

He warned: “There will be no sacred cows! Indeed, there will be no untouchables!”

Mutharika said some of the measures which the DPP government will adopt to fight corruption include “prosecution of all public officers and private sector individuals involved in the theft, fraud and mismanagement of public resources.”

The Malawi leader also said his administration will be enhancing the capacity of governance institutions including the Auditor General’s Office, the Anti- Corruption Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

He said government will ensure further strengthening the financial management systems and institutions for detection of fraud and theft.

Mutharika said there will be “non-interference in procurement by depoliticising the procurement process.”

Cashgate ‘action plan’

On the plunder of resources as Capital Hill which was christened as Cashgate scandal, Mutharika said the scandal brought to light “serious laxity in the adherence to laid down rules and regulations.”

He said the DPP-led Government will put in place “stringent measures” aimed at preventing “a recurrence.”

Mutharika said government will enforce the existing rules and regulations so that the management of public finances should be done within the existing policy and legal framework.

“Going forward, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as one way of decisively dealing with the challenges of Cashgate and a means of addressing the weaknesses identified in the Forensic Audit Report by Baker Tilly of the United Kingdom, Government has formulated a comprehensive action plan on public finance and economic management,” said Mutharika.

In his address, the Head of State said the “action plan” has been developed to ensure a shared vision and one plan for improving public finance management systems.

“The action plan looks at short, medium and long term measures which Government needs to implement to prevent another Cashgate and avoid theft of public funds, he said, adding: “The action plan looks at all aspects of public finance and economic management, including accounting, internal controls, budgeting, procurement, disciplinary issues, administrative reforms and capacity building needs.”

Mutharika stressed that he is determined to get to the bottom of corruption in the country.

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