The Judiciary has been mentioned among public institutions perceived to be the most corrupt in a latest Transparency International (TI) index which has ranked Malawi as the fourth worst in fighting graft in southern Africa and 10th in Africa in its latest Corruption Index on Africa.
In its index, TI, the global anti-corruption watchdog, shows that Malawi is not doing well in fighting corruption.
Joseph Chunga, one of the Centre for Social Research (CSR) researchers under the University of Malawi who conducted the TI survey, said in an interview on Thursday the index does not necessarily need concrete evidence about occurrence of corruption.
He said: “What this means is that we have a perception in Malawi that police officers and courts are corrupt and usually for people to have that perception, it means people have been observing something and in their views, whether justified or not, they treat the entities as such, as they view them.
“The implication is that people will not report issues, for example, to court because they think the institution is not going to address their concerns.”
On its part, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) says it is important for one to note that the TI measures are not the actual incidents of corruption, but rather people’s perception.
Said MLS secretary Khumbo Soko: “Be this as it may, it should worry all of us that people perceive the Judiciary to be corrupt.As you can imagine, the efficacy of the Judiciary largely depends on the credibility that it commands among the citizenry and a perception that it is corrupt can be seriously damaging to its legitimacy.”
But Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula in an interview expressed doubt about the veracity of the survey, arguing that respondents may not have been conversant with the judicial-related issues.
He said: “Malawi Judiciary is trying its best. There have been rare cases where people have pointed out issues related to corruption. Again from the number of respondents, I am not sure how many were conversant with the courts.”
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Lucas Kondowe, key player in corruption prevention, while trashing the report, said the perceptions were mostly influenced by several factors which include socio-economic conditions, droughts, flood, among others.
Malawi trails Madagascar, Zimbabwe and South Africa which occupy first, second and third positions respectively as the worst performing countries in as far as corruption fighting is concerned in the region.
On the global corruption perception index (CPI) issued in December 2014, TI reported that Malawi had dropped from position 91 in 2013 to 110 while in 2012, it was on position 88 against 177 nations.
The latest survey, which was released on December 1 2015, indicates that of the six key public sectors police and courts are the most corrupt, but there are also high levels of bribes taking place in public schools, public hospitals, when acquiring identity cards, voters’ card, permits and utilities.
The survey was conducted between March and April 2014 during the reign of former president Joyce Banda. n