President Peter Mutharika has been challenged to provide objective evidence that the Public Finance Management (PFM) System, through which public officers stole K20 billion of taxpayers’ money, has been strengthened to avoid cashleak.
The looting of public resources at Capital Hill, dubbed cashgate, forced development partners to withhold their budgetary support to Malawi. Donors provide 40 percent of Malawi’s budget.
The Malawi leader on Monday October 27 told the British High Commissioner Michael Nevin that his administration has made a lot of progress to address concerns that led to the suspension of aid.
But the British High Commissioner is said to have argued that the Britain cannot resume disbursing budgetary support because Lilongwe has not given London objective evidence that it has sealed what Germany envoy once called “leaking bucket.”in the Public Finance Management system.
And Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, The Nation in its editorial comment on Tuesday October 28 said unless Capital Hill demonstrates that it has cleaned up its mess, “we do not see budgetary support returning soon.”
The paper also pointed out that much more must have been stolen as well between 2005 and 2009; hence “our support to development partners who are pushing for a forensic audit that dates backs to 2005.”
“While we have no reason to doubt the President’s sincerity in stating that loopholes have been sealed, we have decided to use ‘the trust, but verify’ approach on this issue. Can the President give us evidence that PFM system has been strengthened?
“This is a fundamental question that must be answered because it is not just donors that are demanding this proof; Malawian taxpayers too. We suspect that if it were up to Malawians, most of them would have told government the exact things donors, in this case, Britain, have siad. We will not pay taxes until you put your house in order and unless we have confidence that our hard-earned money will not continue to enrich a crooked few while impoverishing the rest
“Unfortunately, this is not possible and Malawians have to suffer in silence,” reads the comment in part.
Donor urged Malawi to carry out public finance management reforms, pursue cashgate suspects, guarantee the independence of the criminal justice system and to change leadership of some oversight and accountability institutions and provide more resources to them.
Mutharika is of the view that the donors, such as UK, are shifting goal posts since government had fulfilled all the conditions they set for the resumption of aid.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :