CSOs urge govt to be decisive on corruption
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (CSAT) say Malawi’s drop on the Transparency International (TI) corruption index is an opportunity for the new administration to strengthen good governance in Malawi.
Their comments come as a new Transparency International report on corruption has shown Malawi slumping on the Corruption Index. The report has since tipped Malawi to exploit the opportunity to strengthen good governance and promote anti-corruption efforts as a way to reverse the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.
HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said the findings of the index is evidence that Malawi is too far from ending corruption. He said it is time that new government should start showing action in the fight against corruption.
He suggested that the government should start with suspected allegations on corruption on oil deals at National Oil Company (NOCMA) and Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA), among others.
“We need real commitment to stamp out corruption from Tonse Government. As of now we have so many outstanding cases that need to be taken to court or investigated. ACB [Anti-Corruption Bureau] is so slow in finalising the investigations,” Trapence said.
He said HRDC will not be surprised if Malawi continues to be faring badly at the index saying Malawi is country of lip service other than action.
Executive Director for CSAT, Willy Kambwandira, has however said all is not lost for government. What it needs is to reinforce its commitment to fight corruption, he said.
“Malawi’s drop on Corruption Perception Index was expected and as an organisation that champions transparency and accountability, we are not surprised with the score. With recent retrogressive developments in the fight against corruption this was expected,” said Kambwandira.
He said Malawians expect nothing but speedy conclusion of all cases involving looting of their taxes and also fast tracking of the development of guidelines for Access to Information. The TI’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) shows that corruption continues to worsen in the country. Malawi has ranked 129 out of 180 countries after scoring just 30 points.
In 2018, Malawi scored 32 points and was on position 120. In 2019, it moved to 31 points with a ranking of 123.
“With a score of 30, Malawi is a significant decliner on the CPI, dropping seven points since 2012. Notorious for the Cashgate scandal of 2013, involving high levels of public sector corruption and misappropriation of funds, the country continues to grapple with corruption,” read the report.
The report quotes a government audit report as saying Malawi lost $1 billion under the previous government due to corruption.
It further says despite being notorious for the Cashgate scandal of 2013 involving high levels of public sector corruption and misappropriation of funds, the country continues to grapple with corruption. Transparency International says the extradition of Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, accused of money laundering in South Africa, may be another test of the country’s commitment to anticorruption.
“A new government elected in June 2020 promises a fresh start, with several investigations into corruption already underway, and some key arrests made in connection with a cement import,” reads the report in part.