The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) has advised the new President Lazarus Chakwera that his administration should ensure that it tackles corruption.
Ecama president Lauryn Nyasulu said: “Curbing corruption is crucial now more than ever.”
Former president Peter Mutharika lost the elections partly for failing the country on fighting corruption.
Mutharika administration’s failed to arrest any individual in connection with the K236 billion Cashgate —the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill which originated in 2005 but exposed after the shooting on the night of September 13 2013 of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe.
Former president Joyce Banda, who is backing President Chakwera in Tonse Allaince, ordered an audit which British firm, RSM (formerly Baker Tilly), undertook covering a randomly selected six-month period between April and September 2013. The audit established that about K24 billion was siphoned from public coffers through dubious payments, inflated invoices and goods or services never rendered.
In May 2015, a financial analysis report by audit and business advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also established that about K577 billion in public funds could not be reconciliated between 2009 and December 31 2014. The K577 billion figure was later revised downwards to K236 billion in another forensic audit released in 2016.
Corruption in Malawi can be divided into three main components, with the third one being more controversial than the other two.
There is grand corruption, usually perpetrated by the powerful individuals who may be politically connected or wealthy and influential.
Grand corruption is lethal but indirectly felt. This includes poorly constructed roads such as those being done by Sawa Group or other substandard public projects that look fine in a short period but start crumbling soon after.
The country is paying heavy external debts for services that were not to the full benefit of the citizens due to grand corruption.
Then there is petty corruption perpetrated by junior citizens, mainly in the public service.
This is openly felt by the citizens — such as harassed of a citizen by police or delayed delivery of relevant services like medical services and issuance of the passport or driving licence.
The third type is the most lethal and is what fuels both grand and petty corruption: political corruption. This is the foundation of corruption.
Political corruption has created massive poverty, leading to a population that is easily manipulated through petty handouts and the peddling of artificial tribal mistrust.
“The government needs to seal all loopholes and use whatever resources available in efforts to rebuild the economy and safeguard the welfare of those that have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, ” Ecama president said.
President Chakwera has vowed to fight corruption as the country struggles against joblessness and a flagging economy.
Chakwera said he wants to provide leadership that makes everybody prosper, that deals decisively with corruption and theft of public funds and a leadership that will follow the rule of law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :