President Chakwera says he will not shield corrupt ministers

President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday warned his new minsters against all forms of corruption, six days after firing his cabinet and appointing a new cabinet amidst allegations of corruption by some members of his administration.

On Friday unveiled a new 30-member cabinet, dropping or demoting seven ministers, three days after dismissing the entire government over graft concerns.

Chakwera speaks during the swearing in ceremony

During the swearing-in ceremony for the new cabinet at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Chakwera said he expected his ministers to wok ethically.

“Corruption comes in many forms, and the opportunities to succumb to it in this country abound, but you must resist it at every turn. Do not accept a gift in exchange for using your office to give someone preferential treatment in the administration of a public service. That is corruption,” he said, adding that he will not shield anyone from the law.

“If you do not follow the law, the law will follow you. And if you think that I will use my office to save you from facing a law you have broken, then you are gravely mistaken,” he said.

Chakwera added that an acceptance of gift in exchange for using your office to give someone preferential treatment in the administration of a public service is corruption.

New minister Sam Kawale signs up for work

“Do not accept a payment from anyone to whom your Ministry has rendered a public service. That is corruption. Do not invent or fabricate or approve useless ministry activities in order to generate allowances for you and other public servants. That is corruption. Do not bully or push state institutions to pay or award a contractor from whom you stand to benefit and with whom you have business interests or shares. That is corruption.

“Do not, under any circumstances or for any personal glory, violate the oath of office and related oath of secrecy you have taken, which are required by law and are designed to protect our national interests for the good of Malawi and its people. That too is corruption.”

He also urged his cabinet to Cabinet members to work hard.

“We have more work to do than there are hands to do it. There is therefore, absolutely no excuse for sloth, laziness, and procrastination. You must attend to your duties. You must fulfil your responsibilities. You must do your job. And when I issue a directive for your ministry to carry out, you must engage an extra gear to see that it is carried out with speed and without excuses above and beyond your regular duties,” he said.

Scandal brewed in December when the then minister of lands, Kezzie Msukwa, was arrested on allegations that he had received a bribe from wealthy businessman Sattar to give him land.

In the new line-up, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu has been replaced by the previous trade minister, Sosten Gwengwe, but no reason for the change was given.

The president also demoted two influential ministers — Eisenhower Mkaka, who was moved from foreign affairs to the forestry portfolio, and Richard Chimwendo Banda, who was switched from homeland security to the sports and youth ministry.

In total, Chakwera dismissed seven ministers as most of the ministers in the previous cabinet were retained in what seems more of a cabinet reshuffle.

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