Malawi development partners say the country continues to be significantly more corrupt under the leadership of President Peter Mutharika and have urged the government to step up efforts to fight against corrupt gangsters in the corridors of power.
Heads of Mission of Britain, United States of America, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Japan, European Union and Union Nations gave a candid assessment of the fight against corruption in a statement to mark UN-designated International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.
“On International Anti-Corruption Day we reiterate our support for Malawians exposing and addressing corruption,” the statement made available to Nyasa Times said.
The donors pointed out that corruption is a barrier to poverty reduction – diverting scarce resources away from healthcare, schools and water provision. It affects critical capital investments, like roads and power generation. Corruption is a disincentive for private sector investment, economic growth and jobs.
“ We recognise that the Malawian Government has made efforts such as improvements in public finance management, laws on Access to Information, Financial Crimes and, recently, Political Parties. Effective implementation of these laws is critical, now,” said the statement.
The development partners said “f urther reforms” are also needed.
They noted that indicators on corruption still show “a negative trend” and there are continuous reports of fraud, often related to procurement.
Graft-busting body Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) must be able to pursue all cases without “undue influence”, the statement said.
“ Tackling corruption requires a concerted effort: all public institutions need to ensure strong controls are in place and that civil servants are held to account,” the statement said.
“ The Procurement Act should be put into practice as a priority, including merit-based recruitment of staff of the new Public Procurement Authority. All accountability institutions should be adequately resourced to fulfil their mandate effectively,” they urged.
Donors further asked the private sector to respect the law and report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Authority and other institutions.
“We support the media in keeping the public informed to support accountability in public life. We recall that Malawi’s high profile scandal ‘cashgate’ happened in the run-up to the 2014 elections. We call on all stakeholders, led by the authorities, to safeguard scarce public resources between now and the next elections.”
Leader of opposition Lazarous Chakwera recently told Parliament that the fact is that President Mutharika’s “countenances corruption among his own ministers” and is surrounded by aides who not only interfere with government processes for awarding contracts, but also ought to be investigated for corruption “for all the inexplicable wealth they have amassed in less than 40 months.”
Chakwera said President Mutharika, Cabinet Ministers, and the Presidential Aides continue to operate above the nation’s anti-corruption laws that some controlling officers, junior level accountants, civil servants, and department directors feel emboldened to continue looting with impunity, as is the case with some parliamentarians who are systematically abusing their Constituency Development Funds (CFDS).
Chakwera exposed the fraud that is taking place in the procurement of ESCOM generators, perpetrated by the President’s own aides.
He said the Escom genset deal is not the only fraudulent deal happening under Mutharika’s watch that they are aware o, saying the whole Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government “reeks with the stench of corruption” and they cannot investigate it because “criminals do not investigate themselves.”
However, government official spokesperson and Information and Civic Education Minister Nicholous Duasi said donors recognised the efforts of the current administration in fighting corruption.
“There are a number of things government is doing to fight corruption,” said Dausi.
He said President Mutharika has on numerous occasions outlined his commitment to fight corruption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :