Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma says the bureau is determined to deal with corruption in the country swiftly and severely, with the aim of taking care of future corruption.
In a written response to Nation on Sunday in light of the African Anti-Corruption Day which falls on 11 July, the ACB director general said corruption has a great and negative impact on development as public resources end up in the pockets of a few greedy individuals.
Said Chizuma: “Corruption affects social services. It has robbed us of school structures, medicines, food, jobs and it has killed us. This in the end leads to further corruption as people scramble for the scarce public resources.”
She bemoaned the unwillingness of some public sector players to prevent corruption in their institutions as one of the challenges in the fight against corruption in the country.
“Added to this is the limited resources within the Bureau to be able to effectively tackle the scourge. Again, the general perception in Malawi that we cannot do away with corruption is also a challenge. It makes people accept corruption as way if life,” said Chizuma.
However, she said the ACB has put in place strategies to fight corruption swiftly and severely to ensure they prevent future corruption.
The ACB director general said the bureau will be enhancing recovery of asset connected to corruption and saturate the country at national and local levels with anti corruption messages by engaging various pillars in the fight in accordance with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy II (NACSII).
The NACSII provides a framework for fighting corruption through the pursuit of three strategic goals of improving service delivery, strengthening the rule of law and promoting a culture of integrity.
It identifies and tasks 12 pillars to work towards the achievement of the goals, and the pillars are the Executive; the Legislature; the Judiciary; Local Government; the Private Sector; Civil Society; Faith-Based Organisations; the Media; Traditional Leaders; the Youth; Academia; and Women.
Chizuma said the bureau will soon be engaging the Malawi Institute of Education to incorporate anti-corruption issues in the school curriculum to ingrain ethics and integrity in citizens from an early age.
“We will also be following up on declaration of assets and verification by the Office of Director of Public Officers Declarations and enhance collaboration with law enforcement agencies for an effective anti-corruption fight,” she said.
She described the Africa Anti-Corruption Day as important in that it gives member nations an opportunity to reflect on corruption and its impact on development.
Meanwhile, economists, academicians and civil society organisations have said corruption is undermining Malawi’s efforts to achieve economic development and to benefit fully from regional integration efforts.
In an interview yesterday, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences associate professor of economics Betchani Tchereni said corruption, which can be economic, sociological, science and political in nature, heavily impacts the economy and hampers public service delivery.
He said: “Corruption erodes the spirit of hard work. When people see someone living large due to corruption, they do not see the need to work hard or innovate. They know if they just get connected, they can get rich easily.”
On his part, University of Malawi political science professor Blessings Chinsinga also said the widespread and deeply entrenched corruption has encumbered the country’s development efforts.
He observed that winning the fight against corruption requires strong leadership.
Findings of the 2020 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International show that corruption continues to worsen in Malawi, ranked 129 out of 180 countries globally after scoring just 30 points.
The African Anti-Corruption Day was designated by the African Union (AU) and this is the fifth time it is being commemorated. Malawi is among the 44 member states that ratified the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
The theme this year is Regional Economic Communities: Critical Actors in the Implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.