Mpinganjira qualms over Atupele’s claims on World Bank, IMF on Malawi aid

Malawi government spokesman Brown Mpinganjira has taken the statement by United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi  that World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials told him they will not resume aid to Malawi until the Joyce Banda administration are voted out in the May 20 elections.

Atupele was quoted by Nyasa Times speaking in Mzuzu at a campaign rally making such claims

“Dr Godfrey Chapola (UDF presidential running mate) and I met the World Bank and IMF last week, and they assured me that they will only resume budget support if we remove the current (Joyce Banda) administration from government,” said Atupele.

Mpinganjira: Takes Atupele's statement with a pinch of a salt
Mpinganjira: Takes Atupele’s statement with a pinch of a salt


Atupele:  I met the World Bank officials
Atupele: I met the World Bank officials


Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira said on Tuesday he doubted the credibility of the statement made by Atupele.

“I do not believe that the two organisations (IMF and World Bank) have said that to Mr. Muluzi. I really doubt it,” said Mpinganjira on a local radio.

”As far as I am concerned the government and the two institutions are discussing on the need to resume direct budget support and the reforms that government need to take.”

But Mpinganjira said “If it is true that the IMF and World Bank are discussing with political parties behind the government’s back then it is unfair because they are playing double standards.”

According to the World Bank Communications Officer Zeria Banda, the officials from the global lender met leaders of UDF and other parties “to share our perspectives on the state of the economy.”

Banda said during the meetings, they discussed how to “sustain economic reforms for more meaningful economic development. “

She said the meeting did not discuss on elections or who would be the leaders beyond May 20, 2014.

Recently, IMF issued a statement saying Malawi has made progress in addressing weaknesses in the public financial management system, which led to about US$20 million being stolen last year.

IMF Mission Chief to Malawi Tsidi Tsikata said that the Fund is happy with the implementation of the Action Plan – a framework containing strong measures aimed at repairing public fiscal systems, recovering stolen assets, and providing accountability.

The corruption scandal, known locally as “cash-gate”, was masterminded by public officers who connived with businessmen and bankers to siphon state funds amounting to about MK6 billion (US$20 million) last year.

The revelations of corruption led the country’s key donors to withhold US$150 millions in budget support and to demand that Banda’s administration investigate and prosecute those involved in stealing state funds.

President Banda responded by calling for a forensic audit backdated to 2005 to help reveal the extent of corruption, and arrested over 60 public officers, who include a former cabinet minister and some business people, and froze over 30 bank accounts.

Although the scandal has weakened Banda’s administration to some extent as she faces elections next month, the London based Economic Intelligence Unit and other local independent observers say that a crackdown on graft, a split opposition, and the benefits of incumbency, will help Banda and her People’s Party to secure another mandate.

Banda, who took office in April 2012, implemented austerity measures that led to a restoration of a $79 million IMF aid programme suspended due to a conflict with her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

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