Government has confessed that corruption in the country has reached alarming levels in all sectors of the economy with the public service perceived as the most corrupt sector.
Deputy secretary to the President and Cabinet Janet Banda said yesterday in Blantyre that while the Executive remains a fundamental pillar in the social economic development of the nation, public service delivery remains one of the fertile grounds for corruption.
She was speaking during a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) II dissemination workshop organised by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for controlling officers drawn from government departments as well as parastatal organisations in Southern and Eastern regions.
Banda asked the controlling officers to be accountable not only for their own actions as holders of the public purse, but also for their subordinates who implement various public service tasks and assignments.
“Corruption is one of the major deterrents to the social economic growth of our country and has grown out of hand in all sectors of our economy. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy identifies the executive pillar as one of the sectors that is hugely affected by corruption and one that is also critical in corruption prevention,” she said.
Banda said controlling officers, therefore, have a duty to take a leading role in mainstreaming anti-corruption initiatives in their institutions to contribute to the vision embedded in NACS II of attaining a corruption-free Malawi.
She said: “We shoulder the daunting task of delivering public goods and services for the betterment of all Malawians. Unfortunately, public service delivery is one of the fertile grounds of corruption.”
Banda asked the controlling officers to be exemplary in practising good governance by ensuring that services offered to the public are delivered in a transparent and fair manner.
ACB deputy director general Elia Bodole said the orientation workshop was crucial for the controlling officers because the perception of corruption by Malawians point to the public service as being the most corrupt.
“So, the public officers should see how they are going to clean their image and make the public institutions corrupt-free. It is also important that all controlling officers should strategise how they are going to fight corruption in their own institutions, and map the way forward on how they will act so that corruption is reduced and, indeed, eradicated in the country,” he said.
The four-year NACS II developed in 2019 aims at fighting corruption at sector level where each sector is expected to identify its own risk and devise ways how they will fight corruption.
According to an overview of the State of Corruption in Malawi by ACB, perceptions of the main perpetrators of corruption put public officials as the worst, at 44 percent, seconded by politicians at 30 percent while citizens are at 13 percent.
On the perceptions of prevalence of corruption among selected institutions, government officials still top with 91 percent followed by non government organisations officials at 89 percent and Directorate of Road Traffic at 87 percent. ACB officials are the lowest at 58 percent.