Some civil society organisations (CSOs) working in the extractive sector have asked government to investigate alleged corruption in the sector, if they are to adopt the 2016/17 Malawi Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative(Mweiti) report.
Representatives of the CSOs, who are a partner of multi-stakeholder group, on Friday walked out of a validation meeting organised by Ministry of Finance in Lilongwe for extractive industry stakeholders to scrutinise the report due for submission by November 27 2020.
The validation was aimed at ensuring that the revenue government collects from mining companies is disclosed and that mining companies should also do the same, including tracing how the revenue is being utilized by government.
Malawi risks being suspended by the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board if the report is not submitted, especially without input from the multi-stakeholder groups.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Friday, Publish What You Pay Malawi coordinator Gloria Majiga Kamoto said the CSOs as a key partner in the extractive industry transparency initiative process will withhold their input until government takes prompt action on Ilomba mining licensing deal involving a Chinese investor and a government official.
The transaction is mired in allegations of bribes in excess of $300 000 to renew the licence prior to expiry. Kamoto said the group was not refusing production of the report,
but that the CSOs were calling for a report that represents the interest of Malawians and provides an account of the country’s resources.
She said: “We will not participate in the EITI process on the following conditions; by the 25th of November the multi-stakeholder group will submit a letter to ACB [ Anti – Corruption
Bureau] and support an investigation into allegation of corruption in the licensing processes, this is in light of requirement two of EITI guidelines,
“By 25th November we look forward to hearing from government, particularly Ministry of Mining on the current status of the investigations on issues of corruption in licensing processes and in the extractive sector.
“We look forward to hearing what steps are being taken in the short-term, medium and long-term to address the recurring allegations of corruption in the sector.”
Kamoto said the CSOs also plan to meet EITI political champion and Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu as well as political champion for public sector reforms Vice-President Saulos Chilima to map the way forward.
On his part, Natural Resources Justice Network chairperson Kossam Munthali alleged that there is “systematic and deep-rooted corruption” between some officials in government and investors.
Meanwhile , Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has summoned officials from Ministry of Mining as well as Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources to appear before the committee this Wednesday to clarify on the allegations of corruption.
In a telephone interview yesterday, committee c hairperson We l a n i Chilenga said officials from Ministry of Justice are also expected to attend the meeting and explain why regulations are not coming out for implementation of the Mines and Mineral Act.
Ministry of Mining spokesperson Sangwani Phiri refused to comment on what the ministry is doing on the alleged corruption, saying the ACB was looking into the issues. ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala was not immediately available to comment on progress of the investigations by the bureau.