President Joyce Banda today led Malawians in commemorating the Anti-Corruption Day in Lilongwe where she said corruption is frustrating government’s efforts to rebuild the country’s economy and promised to deal with all people involved in the looting of government funds at Capital Hill.
Charged Banda said she will spare no effort in fighting corruption in the public service and the discovery of the looting is not accidental.
“I have explained it before that it was because I noticed that our currency was not accordingly responding to the recovery that was taking place in the economy that I raised serious questions with the former Minister of Finance.
I charged him and his team to work to discover any loopholes through which Government resources were being lost and seal those loopholes. True to my suspicion, and thanks to the work of my officials, the looting of Government resources at Capital Hill was discovered,” said Banda.
The president said she will investigate and seal all loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) adding that she will not allow plunder of public resources to continue.
Said Banda: “This is why I and my Government have spared no effort in investigating this looting and bring all those involved to justice. I have said it time again, I have placed my political career at stake by going flat out to root out this corruption because I believe this is the right thing a leader who loves her people and her country should do.
“I have said that I will shield no one and that I have allowed all the law enforcement agencies to work independently, professionally and diligently to ensure that we, as a country, get to the bottom of the problem and deal with it once and for all. I have also allowed the participation of foreign experts in virtually every key institution in [so that] we have a credible and thorough investigation of the matter.”
The Malawi leader urged that no one can doubt the credibility of government investigations in the cashgate scandal.
“Do not be deceived, not every country can allow foreign experts to get involved in investigating internal and serious matters as we have done. It is like we have allowed foreign experts to go anywhere in our house, including our own bedroom, in order for them to assist resolve this matter,” she said.
“To win the fight,” President Banda said, “she has put in place a government Action Plan on measures to improve public financial management. The implementation of that plan is on course has had wide support, including that of our Development Partners.”
Banda then warned that there are forces trying to derail the process of investigation and prosecution in order to protect culprits and that other forces want to use the investigations and the prosecutions in these matters for their own political or other agenda.
“I will not allow anyone to derail the process for their own political or other agenda. Our law enforcement agencies must be allowed to operate independently and professionally. When we talk about independence of the agencies, we mean independence from interference whether from the Government, NGOs, donors or any individual or other authority. Interference can either be direct or subtle. All that must not happen,” she warned.
Speaking earlier Malawi’s Justice Minister Fahad Assani said government will submit to courts that all those answering charges involving the plunder of public funds at Capital Hill should face life sentence.
“If you stole government money you will face life in prison,” warned Assani.
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