United Kingdom (UK) has committed an extra £10.8m (about K11 billion) to support Malawi in tackling serious and organised corruption.
The UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, made the announcement after he had an audience with President Lazarus Chakwera at his official Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday evening.
Since 2016, the UK has been supporting Malawi through the Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption (TSOC) Programme to strengthen the anti-corruption environment and increase penalties for serious and organised corruption.
The extra funding will see this programme being extended up to 2024, supporting law enforcement efforts in asset recovery and addressing high-level crime.
Duddridge said: “To alleviate poverty, we must tackle corruption. The UK is committed to helping Malawi do so, building robust institutions to tackle serious and organised crime.
“With this funding the UK can support this administration’s vision of fighting corruption by addressing technical and political barriers to reducing corruption in Malawi, and building stronger public financial management systems that help prevent corruption occurring in the first place.”
The TSOC programme will reduce the opportunity for corrupt activity by strengthening the systems regulating how money and services move through the economy; and increase the risks of engaging in corruption, by publicly exposing corrupt individuals and corporations, seizing assets, and improving strategic casework and conviction rates.
The UK has been supporting the Malawian authorities to investigate high-level corruption since the Cashgate scandal of 2013. Some of the notable achievements include:
- The conviction of 17 individuals (14 having been sentenced to a total of 79 years in prison) and MK782 million retrieved in assets linked to a major corruption scandal called Cashgate with the help of UK technical assistance and forensic audit support. A further MK16.5 billion has been identified in ‘sums at risk’ for forfeiture pending scrutiny by the courts.
- Malawi’s legal system has been strengthened through the introduction of plea bargaining and digital data analysis – with UK support – for the first time in select cases.
- Enhanced digital forensic capability of the Anti-Corruption Bureau through a new digital data forensic suite.
- Improved international law enforcement cooperation with mutual legal assistance provided by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and South Africa’s Public Asset Forfeiture Unit.
- Strengthened civil society advocacy working in a flexible and adaptive way to explore the deterrent effectiveness of innovative approaches to tackling corruption
In 2019, Transparency International rated Malawi 123/180 on its Corruption Perception Index.
72% of Malawians think corruption got worse in the last year according to the 2017 Afrobarometer data and only 64% of Malawians think ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption– down from 84% when last asked in 2013.
Global Financial Integrity estimate that £400m (USD585m) leaves Malawi illegally every year – twice the country’s annual health budget.
The World Bank’s Country Economic Memorandum for 2017 identified access to finance, reliability of electricity and water supply, and corruption as the top concerns to establishing and running a business in Malawi.