Banda calls for Emergency Parliamentary Sitting over Corruption Crisis

Malawi president Joyce Banda, Monday called for an emergency sitting of parliament to address revelations of rampant fraud and corruption currently rocking her government.

The emergency sitting of parliament comes in the wake of revelations of massive corruption and fraud in government following the shooting on 13 September of Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo.

The shooting incident, which President Banda said was as a result of the 37-year-old technocrat’s anti-corruption crusade, kicked open a can of worms with civil servants being found with million of kwacha under their beds or in their car trunks almost on a daily basis.

They keep the money away from banks to avoid questions as to where they get such huge amounts of money. At least, 10 people have been arrested after being caught with the unexplained loot.

The civil servants reportedly connive with politicians and businessmen to fleece government of funds in payment for bogus services to government.

In the wake of the reports of government looting, Western donor nations and agencies, including the European Union and the governments of Great Britain, Japan, the US, Norway and Germany, have called for a forensic audit in the Malawi government systems.

Some, including the EU and Norway, have withheld budgetary support for Malawi, 40 per cent of whose budget depends on donor aid.

Leader of the House, Henry Phoya, said President Banda called the sitting to tackle the looting crisis that threatens to topple her government.

‘As you are aware, Parliament was supposed to meet in November but it has been called now to look at the cash-gate,’ said Phoya, who is also Lands and Housing Minister, referring the daily expose of looting in government.

Reacting to the crisis, President Banda vowed to fight graft.

“Let me put on record that my government will not condone corrupt practices at any level. Anyone caught in corrupt acts will face the full force of the law,” she said.

Opening the emergency session of Parliament, Vice President Khumbo Kachali said government will not shield any person implicated in the abuse of public resources ‘be it a politician, senior or junior public servant’.

‘Government on its part, Mr Speaker Sir, is committed to stopping theft and pilferage of public resources. It is the wish of Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda’s government that public resources are used to finance service delivery that is responsive to the needs of the people of Malawi,’ he said.

Corruption is endemic in Malawi so much that former Director of Public Prosecutions Fahad Assani, who incidentally has just been appointed Justice Minister with specific instructions to end corruption, famously said 30 per cent of Malawi’s annual budget is lost through corruption.

A number of former top government officials, former president Bakili Muluzi and former senior ministers, are currently answering fraud and corruption charges.

Over US$ 100 million was said to have been lost through corruption during the 10 years Muluzi was in power.

The Banda administration has also just announced that late president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died from cardiac arrest complications, dubiously amassed a net wealth of 60 billion Malawi kwacha (about US$ 174 million) during the seven years he was in power.

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