US says no intention to withhold aid to Malawi

One of  Malawi’s donor partners, the United States of America says has no intention to withhold or suspend its aid to Malawi over the infamous cash-gate scandal because its aid does not directly go to the government treasury.

This comes after European Union and Britain announced their withholding of aid to Malawi pending the government’s action in dealing with the looting of public finance from government coffers.

Norway had already withdrawn its budget support to Malawi due to its zero corruption policy.

US deputy Ambassador to Malawi Michael Gonzales says as per policy the United States funds the country’s project through NGOs that complement towards government efforts in address some issues affecting Malawians.

Gonzelez: US wont stop aid taps

“There are two different ways how developed countries give assistance to the country. Many of them give what is called budget support which is basically money given to your treasury for disbursement for government programs, the United states does not do that,” Gonzales told a local radio on Friday.

He explained that the United State do what is  called project support.

“Basically we sit down with government officials and we say “we want to help you in your program for example in terms of extending health care or improving early grade comprehension or promoting business environment, how can we do that in parallel or in complimentary to activities that the government is doing.

“After that we come up with a project that comes through NGOs and so because of that when you have a corruption scandal that affects government payment systems it does not affect project  support donors but budget support donors. So at this point the United States has no intention for suspending or reducing the degree of our assistance in Malawi.” he said.

Gonzales however said the United States has “significant confidence” on the action taken by the government of Malawi on addressing the current corruption scandal.

“We are very impressed with transparency the government has shown we call on them to continue all action take in addressing it and communicate their actions to the people at this point as they promote that action plan [on the fight against corruption].”

He therefore said as new cases of corruption which are making good headlines comes, the government should not be penalized for finding more corruption and bringing it to light because “that is the sign of good progress.”

Gonzales also said he feels it’s a bit too early for the government to launch a solid prosecution that is sound based on solid investigation and hard evidence saying this will take time as the scandal is only a couple of weeks old.

“At this point I think it will be premature to bring big high profile cases based on flimsy evidence. I think time will tell and that is the kind of action that we will be looking for in terms of the implement on for the action plan,” he said.

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