Corruption continues to be one of the major obstacles blocking Malawi’s road to prosperity, this is according to World Bank country manager Greg Toulmin.
Toulmin has said this in quotes reported by a local newspaper.
“The World Bank continues to emphasise the need to address corruption both in relation to the funds we administer and in relation to government funds,” Toulmin said as quoted by Weekend Nation.
The World Bank country manager was responding to an inquiry on the role of the bank in the fight against corruption in the country after a basket fund by the country’s development partners—the Financial Reporting and Oversight Improvement Project (Froip)—withheld its contribution to the procurement of the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis), a software used in the management of public funds.
Toulmin said the bank and other development partners had initially planned to contribute to the procurement of Ifmis under Froip.
“But after discussions on various procurement options between the bank and government, it was mutually agreed that Froip would not finance the procurement, and that government could procure the system through its own resources and procurement systems,” he explained.
Instead, government continues to use the Ifmis that was easily manipulated, resulting in Cashgate, the massive looting of public funds that led to government losing K236 billion, between 2009 and 2014, which could happen again if the process is not stopped, according to the former Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa who audited the system and discovered that it remains porous.
Cashgate exposed “the reality of the pervasiveness of corruption in Malawi” and rightfully increased stakeholder demand for “much greater scrutiny” in the management of public resources, according to Toulmin.
He said while technology in the form of the Ifmis is an important tool to help reduce the abuse of public funds, he cautioned, there was also need to address the human factor.
“Technology on its own cannot address human elements that affect effective administration. These include such issues as behavioural attitudes, incentives for managerial accountability and staff performance at all levels,” Toulmin said.
Malawi government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said what Toulmin said is his personal opinion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :