A top British government official has expressed concern that Malawi is getting more corrupt and warned that the future large-scale humanitarian aid from Britain may be pegged to greater transparency and accountability.
Britain will monitor the manner Malawi government manages agricultural institutions such as Admarc and programmes such as Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
“I am deeply concerned about the extent of corruption in Malawi, which is damaging the country’s prospects for sustained economic growth and hitting the poorest hardest. It is a concern I know other donors in Malawi share,” Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Development (DfID) James Wharton is quoted in the Weekend Nation.
The paper had an exclusive interview with the British official who added: “The UK has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption and is providing support to the Malawian law enforcement agencies to help them investigate and bring to justice those guilty of defrauding the Malawian people.
“We are pleased to see that our support has helped jail those responsible for Cashgate to a total of 125 years. But there is much more that the government needs to do, starting with ensuring the law enforcement agencies are properly funded and insulated from political interference.”
The UK is Malawi’s traditional donor, currently it has pumped in £6 million (about K6 billion) to the Health Services Joint Fund which is helping to provide core support to Malawi’s public health system.
Wharton is suggesting that law enforcement agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Auditor General (AG) should be adequately funded and “insulated from political intereferance.”
UK s call for the passing of Political Parties Bill, Public Audit Bill, and Financial Crimes Bill in the current session of Parliament to help bring greater transparency in government.
The Bill, appearing as Corrupt Practices (Amendment) Act, 2016 and seeks to amend sections 5 and 7 of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) to enhance the independence of the operations of the ACB.
The Bill proposes that Section 5 (1) of the CPA which reads that “the President shall, on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit, appoint the director” should be deleted and be replaced with “the director shall be appointed by the Public Appointments Committee on such conditions as the committee shall think fit”.
Wharton is further quoted: “Good governance in the extractives sector is critical to maximising the benefits of extraction, preventing corruption, and protecting the environment. As Malawi seeks to develop its oil and gas sector, it is critical that the public sector has the skills to manage it responsibly and transparently for the benefit of all Malawians, and prevent the oil curse that has afflicted so many developing countries.
“By fostering sustainable economic growth in Malawi, including exploring opportunities in oil and gas, we will help eradicate poverty, create jobs, increase revenue and reduce dependency on aid.”
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