Malawi’s Civil Society unhappy with donors over cashgate

Malawi’s Civil Society Grand Coalition has expressed disappointment over donors’ stand to be ‘hoodwinked’ by President Joyce Banda’s administration on how it is handling Capital Hill’s cashgate investigations.

Government has said investigations into the scandal will require more time thus giving a hint that it may go beyond next year’s elections before anything tangible comes out.

The donors under the Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS) on Wednesday hailed Malawi’s progress in investigating the scandal but indicated that regaining donor confidence in the country’s public finance management system will take time.

CABS Co-chairperson Sarah Sanyahumbi, who is also Head of the British Department for International Department (DfID) in Malawi, made the remarks in Lilongwe during a wrap-up CABS review meeting.

 Sarah Sanyahumbi:  We need to regain confidence
Sarah Sanyahumbi: We need to regain confidence

Sanyahumbi observed that investigations into the cashgate were in early stages and results from the forensic audit on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) would only be out in January 2014 and significant improvements could only be visible by March next year.

The DfID Malawi boss said donors have been participating in weekly meetings of the Government Action Plan where initial steps on addressing cashgate have been shown.

But the Grand Coalition is now worried that the donors have now bought the direction taken by government.

“We are concerned with what the donors are doing. Instead of supporting us, the CSOS, in ensuring speedy investigations, they are siding with the president.

“We are not amused because they a control freak,” alleged a member of the Coalition.

According to reports the coalition met in Lilongwe on Tuesday where they agreed to have an audience with the donors and express their concerns before taking another action.

“I can confirm the Grand Coalition met in Lilongwe [Tuesday] and we resolved to meet the donors and tell them our disappointment with their approach to the cashgate investigations,” disclosed a member of coalition on condition of anonymity.

The coalition’s Spokesperson, Chris Chisoni, confirmed the meeting took place but refused to divulge more details.

The Grand Coalition, among others, is already calling for civil disobedience against President Banda’s led government over its handling of the scandal.

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