Britain did not stop assisting Malawi as its funding to budgetary support which was withheld, instead, is directed through non-governmental organisations and other bodies working in the country, London’s diplomat has said.
The British High Commissioner Michael Nevin told a local press that direct funds to the Malawi treasury for poverty reduction – known as general budget support – were stopped in 2011 amid concerns about economic mismanagement and the suppression of opposition groups by the then President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The aid funding was resumed when President Joyce Banda but then 2012 cashgate corruption scandal forced aid taps to be frozen.
Lilongwe has been making passionate plea to donors, including Britain to resume budget support to the country.
But Nevin said Britain is already giving Malawi a lot of money through other channels.
“We are continuing giving aid to Malawi but not through government systems. The background is that budget support stopped in 2011, but Malawi is still getting a lot of money sometimes over $1 billion from various donors,” Nevin is quoted in a local newspaper.
Britain, Malawi’s biggest aid donor, helps on supplying drugs, improving sanitation and supporting crop development.
The cashgate affair broke in September after a failed assassination attempt on the government’s former budget director, Paul Mphwiyo, who it is believed was about to reveal a corruption syndicate in government.
Police raids after the shooting found several high-level officials with piles of cash hidden in their homes and cars.
Several government figures were arrested and accused of exploiting a loophole in the government’s payment system – known as the integrated financial managing information System (Ifmis) – to divert millions into their own pockets.
The number of suspected being convicted in the cashgate cases is rising.
Nevin has since advised Malawi, one of the poorest countries, to migrate to new software of Ifmis, the current software should be upgraded and operators follow strict procurement and audit procedures.
He is quoted saying that Ifmis does need to be upgraded and government needs to migrate to new software.
“What needs to be done is to enforce discipline in the financial management systems so that people operating the software follow proper checks and balances on issues to with procurement,” Nevin said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said government is planning to procure new software to replace the one currently in use because it does not want to sustain Cashgate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :