18 July 2018

Malawi: EU Cautions Malawi On Corruption Crisis - Support in Development Projects Threatened

The outgoing head of the European Union (EU) in Malawi Marchel Gerrmann Has urged government to curb increasing cases of corruption, warning that the graft scandal may force to review its assistance it renders to the country in other areas.

When Cashgate--the looting of some K24 billion of public resources at Capital Hill in Lilongwe--was discovered in 2013, Malawi's relationship with some key development partners received a knock.

The partners stopped giving Malawi budgetary support for fear of putting their taxpayers' money in a leaking bucket.

But EU continues to provide support to Malawi in other development areas which include a 560 million euro (about K41 billion) European Development Fund (EDF) X1 five -year project (2015-2021) that supports development projects in sectors of agriculture and justice delivery through Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme.

Gerrmann, who is ending his diplomatic tour of duty in Malawi, said corruption is a major stumbling block to the country's investment opportunities.

He said failure to address loopholes in public procurement systems delayed implementation of the Political Parties law, delayed review of the laws governing corruption fighting agencies -including the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) - as key factors breeding corruption in the country.

EU envoy warned that if Malawi government continues to fail to tackle serious and organised corruption, including money laundering and illicit financial flows, "it is likely going to affect donor funding in future, including that of European Union."

Germann noted that Malawi is still rocked with public finance management woes especially in procurement.

He said EU is investing up to 150 million euro a year, saying for Malawi to develop, it is essential that the scarce available resources fully reach their intended purposes.

"We want to continue helping Malawi reach her development goals. But we also want to assure our taxpayers that the government we are supporting can use its own resources efficiently," he said.

He hinted that improved service delivery for ordinary Malawians will be made possible if corruption is clamped down and amounts of public money that vanish are significantly reduced.

Gerrmann urged Malawi to review the Corrupt Practices Act, improve procurement systems and operationalise the political financing laws and implement the Access to Information law.

Former Malawi Law Society (MLS) president John Suzi-Banda is on record of saying Malawi is losing the fight against corruption, adding, "there is bankruptcy of leadership in the fight against corruption, the efforts are half-hearted and lukewarm.

"The institutions that are mandated to fight corruption have systematically been weakened and the officers charged with these functions are highly compromised. I think every well-meaning Malawian knows this. Those that can dispute this either don't know what's happening in their own country or are benefiting from these criminal activities," he said.

Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Nicholas Dausi acknowledged that while there is still a long way to curb corruption in Malawi, the government is doing all it can to curb the vice.

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