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Lazarus Chakwera tough on corruption

Tells ministers not to accept bribes

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President Lazarus Chakwera has asked newly appointed Cabinet ministers not to indulge in corrupt practices.

He said this at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Sunday afternoon during the swearing-in ceremony of 21 ministers and nine deputy ministers.

The Malawi leader told the ministers not to accept gifts in the administration of public service.

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“That is corruption. Do not accept payment from anyone to whom your ministry has rendered a public service. That is corruption. Do not invent, fabricate or approve useless ministry activities to generate allowances for you and other public servants. That is corruption.

“Do not bully or push State institutions to pay or award a contractor from whom you stand to benefit and with whom you have business interests or shares. That is corruption,” Chakwera said.

He further advised ministers and deputy ministers not to violate their oath of office.

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“Corruption comes in many forms and the opportunities to succumb to it in this country abound, but you must resist it at every turn because, if you do not follow the law, the law will follow you.

“And if you think that I will use my office to save you from facing a law you have broken, then you are gravely mistaken,” Chakwera said.

The 30 ministers and deputy ministers have come from political parties under the Tonse Alliance.

The Malawi leader said whether a minister belongs to Malawi Congress Party, UTM, People’s Party or other parties in the Tonse Alliance, they must remember that it is him who appointed them and that it is to him that they must report.

“Do not become presumptuous and imagine that your appointment is attributed to someone else. I expect regular and timely reports to my office of the progress you are making, and I expect those reports to be presented to me directly and for me to be the one that directs you on whether any contents in your reports should be shared with anyone else.

“My point here is simply to remind you that you are not just a minister of government. You are my minister,” Chakwera said.

He also warned ministers against working in silence, saying Malawians needed to know what the ministers were doing.

Chakwera said one of the flaws of the last Cabinet, which he dissolved on Monday, was that it was working in deafening silence.

“The Malawian people need to hear from you. They need to hear your voice. There are technocrats in your ministries whose job is to work quietly.

“That is not how a minister is meant to function. If there is a matter of public interest that falls under your domain, it is your responsibility to stand before the Malawian people and explain it,” Chakwera said.

New Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe said he was aware that the local economy, just like many economies in the world, was facing challenges.

He said Malawians needed to work together to find solutions to economic challenges facing the country.

On his part, Natural Resources Minister Eisenhower Mkaka pledged to work extra hard as demanded by Chakwera.

The new Cabinet was appointed on Wednesday and Thursday and has 60 percent men and 40 percent women.

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