Malawi Pres Banda call for spirited fight against corruption: Warns public officials

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said her government would fight corruption in all its forms with commitment and vigour, warning that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will not spare anyone, including high ranking officials in government, if they engage in corruption.

The President made the warning on Tuesday when she led Malawians and the media fraternity in commemorating the National Anti-Corruption Day in the lake shore district of Mangochi.

Banda vowed to prosecute corrupt people regardless of their status, saying there will be “no sacred cows” and “no special one” in the crackdown to corruption.

The Malawi leader sounded the warning that her government has taken a zero-tolerance stance against corruption in both the public and private sector, saying her government will support the ACB in fighting corruption at all levels.

President Banda will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting corruption
President Banda will leave no stone unturned when it comes to fighting corruption

“Corruption is fueling poverty in this country. Will find new strategies to fight the vice. We can not allow a few people to benefit at the expense of the public, said Banda, adding “corruption is spread out, deep rooted more than I thought.”

She stressed that anyone found in corrupt activities will be prosecuted “irrespective of their status or position in government.”

Said the President: “Let me make this very clear, here and now, that this President, standing before you, is determined to get to the bottom of corruption in this country.

“There will be no sacred cows; no protected species and no special ones. As for the bureau and the Auditor General, I want you to join me on this crusade to rid mother Malawi of this evil.”

President Banda said the recent government’s directive that all principal secretaries should be controlling officers of all internal procurement processes is a bold step to fighting corruption.

She also told the gathering that her government will also “review the drugs procurement system and all procurement processes in order to fight corruption.”

Said Banda: “We will review the procurement system so that government should just be buying drugs and all medical supplies direct from the manufacturers.”

ACB director Rezine Mzikamanda, who urged the media to continue exposing corruption through articles, bemoaned delays in the passing of Access to Information Bill, which he said could made declaration of assets by public officers mandatory thereby helping fighting corruption

President Banda has come under fire for declaring that she cannot declare her assets as she already did so when she took the oath of office as the country’s Vice-President in May 2009.

But critics have argued the set-ups are now different as she is now Head of State; hence, must declare her assets to set a good example.

Mzikamanda has since assured people in the country that it will continue to be independent in its efforts to stamp out corruption at all levels in society.

“The Bureau does not tow any political line. In fact, we are working towards clearing that image by being as independent and as professional as possible,” Mzikamanda said when he addressed journalists.

“This director (referring to himself) will ensure that the independence of the institution is upheld–we’ll not listen to whatever powers that be.”

“Fighting corruption is not a one man show; it is not for government alone but needs concerted efforts. We need each other in this fight, we need each other all the way,” he noted.

Mzikamanda said this year’s pillar which was under the role of the media, was chosen deliberately since the media needs to serve the public with efficiency and professionalism.

Chairperson of the National Integrity Committee, Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe commended the role played by the media in fighting corruption, noting that it has been very vigorous in making sure that Malawians are kept informed on corrupt dealings when and as they happen.

“From the Biblical perspective, Jesus says there should be light on earth to promote transparency and accountability. Every citizen has the responsibility to deny dubious transactions and work towards honesty and account for one’s actions,” Bvumbwe emphasized.

The Anti-Corruption Day, which falls on February 5 every year in the country, was celebrated under theme “Media: A Partner in Fighting Corruption”. The commemoration is in line with the International Anti-corruption Day which is initially commemorated on December 9 worldwide.

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