Civil society organisations (CSOs) have demanded several reforms after Malawi plunged 19 steps on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) computed by the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).
The country has dropped from 91 last year to 110 this year during a period that Cashgate—the fraud and corruption scam that has hit the country—exploded.
Among others, the CSOs have called for an “immediate review of the Presidential Benefits and Salary Act to put specific/minimum conditions to avoid abuse of office on the part of the President as this has been proven to be aiding corruption and impunity.”
Unveiling the report released by the Berlin-based watchdog, National Integrity Platform (NIP), TI’s local affiliate, said the report indicates that Malawi is among top five countries in the world where corruption is feared to have worsened. Others are China, Angola, Rwanda and Turkey.
NIP chairperson Moses Mkandawire told journalists in Lilongwe the development was worrying and another reminder for Malawians to step up the fight against corruption.
He said both high-level corruption and petty bribery have continued to worsen in recent years amid a system of patronage and nepotism.
In the recommendations, the NIP says new reforms need to be undertaken to aid the fight against sleaze to repair the country’s battered image and also win back confidence from foreigners, taxpayers and the investing community.
The platform, among others, calls for creation of an environment that will make corruption an extremely risky activity by instituting laws that make it easier for government to seize all assets and bank accounts duly suspected to have been acquired using stolen public money.
It further calls for the curbing of illicit financial flows by strengthening application of money laundering laws and strengthening the law on declaration of assets.
This year’s ranking is the worst Malawi has attained on the index in the past five years and comes as the country continues to suffer the aftermath of Cashgate—the worst scandal to have hit independent Malawi.
Several Western donors have suspended traditional direct budget aid as a consequence after a K24 billion heist of public funds by government officials conniving with businesses and politicians, some of whom are currently facing prosecution in various courts of law or are under probe.