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CSOs decry mining sector challenges

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Some civil society organisations have faulted the government for neglecting its role to curb corrupt practices in the mining sector.

This, they say, would affect the sector’s growth prospects.

The CSOs, Natural Resources Justice Network and Publish What You Pay Malawi, say in a joint statement that the government is lacking seriousness in addressing corrupt practices in the mining sector.

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In the statement, the organisations claim that, at a stakeholder meeting convened last year, they agreed with the Ministry of Mining to report some corrupt allegations to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to be followed by a statement condemning the vice.

“We call upon the Ministry of Mining to inform Malawians of the administrative steps that are being taken to address the corruption allegations and assure Malawians of the ministry’s commitment to transparency and accountability,” the statement reads.

Last year, a conversation between a purported Ministry of Mining official and a potential Chinese investor who was offering a bribe for a renewal of mining licence went viral on social media.

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Natural Resources Justice Network Chairperson Kossam Munthali said in an interview Thursday that lack of commitment by the ministry to combat corruption will affect the sector.

“The country loses track of what government wants to achieve because the rich get richer and the poor poorer. The country will also lose trust and confidence from citizens and the international community, among many other negative impacts,” Munthali said.

Reacting, Ministry of Mining spokesperson Sangwani Phiri said it is unfortunate that the ministry is being accused despite its efforts to fight corruption.

“An investigation has been instituted by the ACB so that we can know what happened and it will be them and us knowing what happened. It is not the mandate of this ministry to go into investigations of that nature because there are other bodies,” Phiri said.

The mining sector contributed about K20.038 billion to national revenue during the 2017/18 financial year alone.

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