In joining the country to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day on Friday, December 9, Castel Malawi has declared itself a corrupt-free company through the ‘Say It Loud’ campaign.
Meanwhile, President Lazarus Chakwera led the nation in commemorating the event in Kasungu where he enhanced the 20-week National Anti-Corruption Campaign which he launched at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre on July I — where he declared that ‘Corruption is our biggest enemy and is not welcome here’ — and was adopted as the slogan for the nationwide campaign against the vice.
Thus Castel joins the President and the rest of the nation’s stakeholders in taking a stand to raise public awareness on anti-corruption by encouraging its employees and the public at large to work on innovative solutions that can help win the fight against the malpractice.
The event started with a street parade led by the Malawi Defence Force brass band from the company’s premises at Makata to Clock Tower and back to enhance their campaign for a corrupt-free society.
In her speech to the members of staff during a get-together party after the parade, Gloria Zimba — the company’s human resource (HR) & corporate affairs director — said corruption destroys businesses across nations and that the ‘Say It Loud’ campaign has also been launched in all 14 African countries in which Castel Group operates.
“The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the costs of corruption by promoting ethical behaviour amongst the staff and our business stakeholders and to encourage them to inculcate the culture of reporting incidents of corruption in the communities the live.
“It is a call of action for the public to raise their voices by taking a stand to spread the word against corruption,” she said, while emphasizing that Castel decided to join the nation because they believe in good ethics.
“We must take a stand in the fight against corruption. People are not open enough to speak against vice and if we at Castel believe that corruption is a serious the malpractice, we can help shape the minds of community members we live in.
“So, let us all hold hands together by not being corrupt ourselves by reporting all manner of corruption and bribery in our company; report any cases you feel are against our company ethics — whether the person you are reporting on is very senior or not.”
In his remarks, Managing Director, Thomas Reynaud enhanced the company’s zero-tolerance policy towards any act of bribery or trading influence by increasing the Anonymous Tip-off reward from K250,000 to K1 million.
Present as guest of honour was Malawi Law Society president, Patrick Mpaka, who applauded Castel Malawi for “the bold initiative”, saying “this is the positive way of combating corruption as opposed to prosecution.
“The Corrupt Practice Act was enacted way back in 1996 but the country continues to be very corrupt,” he said. “Prosecution always takes place long after the practice has been effected.
“So, what Castel Malawi has done is what we at Malawi Law Society believe in — that we campaign against the vice to prevent it from taking deep roots. Castel Malawi has a very large workforce, which will enhance the awareness campaign effectively.”
Mpaka added that President Chakwera announced that the Anti-Corruption Bureau released a list of 83 public officers who were being investigated on corruption allegations involving the British national Zuneth Sattar but did not name them.
“Up to now, we only know just a pocket of people from the list of 83. This is to say prosecution is not such a powerful tool but through this kind of awareness, which reaches out to so many including the country’s young minds.
“What we see in Castel Malawi is professionalism, transparency and accountability, which is the key to the success of any business and I encourage other companies to roll out their own ‘Say It Loud’ initiatives,” Mpaka said.
In his speech in Kasungu, President Chakwera said the fight against corruption is not just a fight to clean up the country’s governance institutions, nor to recover stolen resources — “it is a fight for our very lives”.
“It is a costly fight; it is a dangerous fight. Those who have corrupted our system will not go quietly, they will not lay down their weapons and simply surrender.
“They will not come here to this event and shake hands to make peace. They are against everything we stand for. They are determined to stop our efforts. They have vowed to use every means to make sure their dark empire survives, including violence and murder.”
He thus said he was pleased that through various activities led by various stakeholders, the message of ‘Corruption is our biggest enemy and is not welcome here’ — which he launched in July I during the launch of the 21-week National Anti-Corruption Campaign — has reached most of the people of Malawi.
“I am pleased that all 12 pillars of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy — namely Executive, Judiciary, faith-based organizations, the civil society, traditional leaders, Legislature, private sector, academia, the youth, media, local government, and women — have been actively involved in this campaign.
“I am pleased that various media have been used to amplify their message. I am pleased that the ACB has led the campaign successfully until its conclusion today.
Above all, I am pleased that Malawians are reporting any suspicion of corruption they see in every sector. This is a clear indication that Malawians have embraced this campaign and have enlisted themselves in this fight.
“This is a clear indication that Malawians are tired of corruption. This shows that Malawians have no appetite or tolerance for corruption. Malawians are fed up with the untold suffering that corruption has caused them.
“So, if you are a Malawian and you love your country, continue revealing any shady dealings you see, no matter how small, because when you report corruption, you send a strong message to the corrupt that they have nowhere to hide.
“When you report corruption, it allows the Bureau and Fiscal Police to investigate and hold people accountable. When you report corruption, you shake the very foundations of Malawi’s corruption empire, because it is an empire that thrives and grows in the dark and secret corners of Malawi.”
Chakwera added that when people report on corruption — just as Castel Malawi is advocating — it stops shady deals from going through to protect Malawi’s resources from being stolen.
“When you report corruption, you save public money, and the money you save can then be used to put medicines in your hospital, to build roads and bridges, to buy books for your children in school, to provide electricity for your home, to bring clean water to your village, and to subsidize fertilizer for your farm.
“Fighting corruption is fighting for our lives, our future, and our country. It is also fighting for our humanity, because corruption destroys our Umunthu.
“That is why I want all Malawians to learn this new Umunthu Anthem, as a reminder that fighting corruption is fighting for food for orphans and widows, medicine for the sick, and education for young people.
“Fighting corruption does not just save money, it saves lives. So no matter how hard it gets, no matter how much it costs, and no matter how long it takes, this is a fight we will and must never give up.”