ACB reports to Parliament ‘unresponsive’ integrity committees: inspires youths to fight corruption

Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Martha Chizuma, has said the graft busting body has resorted to reporting to the National Assembly all “unresponsive” Institutional Integrity Committees (IICs) as one way of ensuring that they really start fighting corruption within government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Chizuma said the bureau is obliged under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy to report to Parliament the unresponsive IICs.

The ACB director spoke Thursday in Lilongwe during a national youth conference, where participants expressed concern that “their future has been stolen” through grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons in collaboration with some elements within MDAs.

The two-day conference, which ended Thursday, was organized by Youth Decide Campaign—a consortium of youth led organizations which advanced a national youth manifesto ahead of 2019 and 2020 presidential elections.

Nearly 200 young people attended the conference to interrogate the state of governance and youth development in Malawi in view of high cost of living, economic inequalities, worsening poverty and youth unemployment, among many other concerns.

IICs, according to Chizuma, were introduced with the support of the bureau in order to mainstream anti-corruption fights within MDAs.

However, the ACB director, who was among a high-level panel of discussants on corruption and rule of law, expressed worry that some IICs are not operating, a development she said leads to proliferation of grand corruption in MDAs.

Chizuma said the government, as a result, loses huge amounts of resources that would improve the lives of citizens, more especially young people.

“Last week, for instance, some IICs were summoned by the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament after we reported them. We want an effective system which provides checks and balances within MDAs in order to prevent corruption. How much are the IICs auditing the lifestyles of fellow members of staff, the contracts and procurements. How much resources are they protecting,” Chizuma said.

National Coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Boniface Chibwana, who was also among the panel of discussants, concurred with Chizuma, adding that there must be collective monitoring of the performance of IICs, more especially involving the youths.

“It is really a sad situation in some MDAs. There are some public officers who are not reporting for work. Others are engaging in their own private things at the expense of public service. IICs must be seen to be checking all this as well,” Chibwana said.

Youth Decide Campaign Team Leader, Charles Kajoloweka, expressed his gratitude that the national youth conference achieved its purpose of interrogating the state of governance and youth development in Malawi.

“We hope the government realizes earlier that it could do better and that there are steps moving forward to expedite the implementation of national youth manifesto and 2019/2020 election campaign commitments. We hope we have started a healthy and robust engagement with the government,” said Kajoloweka, who is also the Executive Director for Youth and Society.

Other stakeholders invited to the youth conference included: development partners, academia, private sector, regional and international bodies that “are taking stock of the ground breaking gains, opportunities and challenges faced by young people in Malawi”.

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