Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has been accused that he “fundamentally misunderstands” the essence of governance institutions such as Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) when he told BBC that the apparent ineffectiveness is not of Malawi Government’s making because it was the World Bank and International Monetray Fund (IMF) that provided legislation that established the constitutional body.
BBC’s Ed Butler quizzed Gondwe on reports that there is ‘political pressure’ to graft-busting body hence diminishing zeal for fraud prosecutions, which have severely dented the country’s reputation and cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in budget support funds.
He queried Gondwe why Malawi government is not keen on “independent oversight” of ACB.
Gondwe stumbled in his response: “Yes, I think that you have a point there, that the system is such that, and it’s not only in Malawi by the way, it’s true in Kenya, its true in Zambia, and its true everywhere.”
The Finance Minister added: “These institutions were started, by the way, through the influence of World Bank and IMF. They are the people who gave us the legislation.”
However, Gondwe triggered furious blash from Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).
CCJP national coordinator Martin Chiphwanya said Gondwe’s remarks is another stain on the national quest to good governance.
He accused Gondwe of “talking down Malawi”.
And Political science lecturer at the Chancellor College, a constituent college of theUniversity of Malawi Dr Mustafa Hussein said World Bank and IMF did not formulate the Corrupt practices Act but Malawi parliament.
Hussein said Gondwe’s remarks were “irrelevant” and “senseless”.
In Parliament government rejected a motion moved by Lilongwe South West MP Peter Chakhwantha that an amendment bill be drafted to change Section 5 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act to provide for appointment of the ACB director and deputy by the Public Appointment Committee (PAC) not the President as it stands now but be based on merit and through an open recruitment process.
However, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said ACB belongs to the Executive arm of government and removing the President’s powers to appoint a director would be a “travesty of the doctrine of separation [of power].”