Malawi: Chilima Pledges Govt Support to Governance Bodies to Fight Corruption, Abuse of Resources

14 August 2020

Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima has pledged government's full support to state-funded constitutional and governance bodies as the Tonse Alliance government embarks on a journey to flush out corruption and wastage of public resources.

Chilima made the pledge in Lilongwe today during his engagements with officials from the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declarations (ODPOD), Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).

He said the three institutions have a critical role to play in the fight against corruption and wastage of public resources and that the government will provide its full support to them so that this is achieved.

"I first met with the Deputy Director of ODPOD, Mr. Michael Chiusiwa and his officials. The team presented two reform areas with the first one aiming at migrating from manual declaration system to online declaration. The second reform focuses on reviewing and amending legislation to make the insistitution effective to improve service delivery," Chilima said on his Facebook page daily updates.

He says it was gratifying to note that there has been progress so far in ensuring direct data interface with other institutions such as Malawi Revenue Authority, Department of Road Traffic Services, National Registration Bureau among institutions in a bid to enhance verification and identification of red flags.

Chilima states that during the meeting, he also emphasized on the need for punitive measures to be clearly stipulated in the amended legislation to sanction those officers who do not comply with the law.

"Declaration of assets is a legal requirement and non-compliance is a breach of the law. There must be consequences if theft and abuse of public resources is to be dealt with in this country and the law must clearly support that," he says.

On the other hand, the FIA acting Director, Vincent Chipeta, presented three reform areas that would increase wider access to critical information held by other government agencies, enable the public to report suspicious financial transactions and increase public awareness on the roles and achievements in combating financial crimes in the country.

Chilima advised FIA to expedite the process of linking FIA to government agencies.

He says if FIA is to have enriched groundwork that will lead to investigations and prosecutions, then the linking process is crucial.

"FIA is a critical institution in the fight against corruption and theft of public resources and must be supported to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency. I believe that the national spirit that led to the creation of FIA must be respected in all aspects," says Chilima.

In his remarks, the Deputy Director General of PPDA, Irene Mlewa highlighted five reform areas aimed at enhancing transparency and efficiency in the institution that was formerly known as the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) but now evolved into a parastatal as PPDA.

The reform areas include migration from manual to electronic procurement processes by setting up an e-government procurement unit, introducing online supplier registration/payments and Open Contracting to enable citizens hold authorities to account for procurement decisions.

The e-government procurement is expected to be rolled out in seven pilot Ministries and Government Departments by July 2021 and the rest of the procuring entities within 18 months.

Generally, PPDA has reforms that will in the long run help to manage the public perception that the institution contributes to loss of public resources.

"I am encouraged by the development of regulations to support the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act that would also clarify the opportunities available for indigenous business persons," said Chilima.

He said like FIA and ODPOD, PPDA must also strictly enforce strong sanctions to root out non-compliance of the law.

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