Malawi: Audit exposes corrupt practices in Bingu govt, civil society call for action

binguwaMalawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), a coalition of civil society organisations concerned with economic governance has called on anti corruption enforcers to act on public officers accused of wrongful-self enrichment in a damning report by Auditor General.

The Auditor General has revealed the sordid details of high corruption, fraud and theft in the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika (pictured) from 2005 to 2007.

The report which Nyasa Times has since obtained, in graphic detail describes how government officials in the Mutharika government used state resources for self-enrichment.

It also revealed how public funds were being used for political campaigns with expenses billed to government and public institutions which have made government to lose billions of Kwacha.

There have been several reports indicating that corruption is still rampant in the country, Andrew Kumbatira, executive director of MEJN told Capital FM radio. He called for the long arm of the law to take its course on suspects.

At the end of the day it is the poor people in the villages that are suffering because of this poor performance, said the head of the economic governance group.

The audit has exposed bogus contracts and failure to collect revenue, by some ministries, such as the ministry of transport and public works.

Government money has been lost. Progress of development will slow down, pointed out Kumbatira.

The law enforcers, Malawi Police Service have also been exposed practices of fraud and abuse of public funds. MEJN strongly called for action and bring suspects to book.

What is important is government action, taking to book those that have flouted government regulation financial procedures, said Kumbatira.

He also urged civil society and the public at large to be vigilant in checking abuse in government.

What can be learnt for this it is important to make sure that there is strong oversight in terms of government operation. The fight against corruption is for all of us, he said.

However, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is responsible for tackling graft, has been viewed a witch hunting body which aims at victimising people especially political opponents.

Opposition UDF parliamentary chief whip, Clement Chiwaya told National Assembly recently told that the Bureau , in its investigations, victimizes innocent people especially politicians.

Chiwaya also said the allocation of K904, 219, 732 in the 2009/10 national budget to the Anti-Corruption Bureau is too much considering that the bureau rush through cases without investigating fully.

But Minister of Justice and constitutional affairs, Professor Peter Mutharika said it was not true that the Bureau victimize politicians but rather it is an independent body which targets people and politicians who engage in corruption.

The minister also said the body acquired new four by four vehicles which would enable the body carry out its investigations effectively.

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