CALL FOR CONCLUSION OF CORRUPTION CASES, BOTH PREVIOUS & CURRENT
ISSUED ON JANUARY 12, 2022 IN LILONGWE
When Malawians voted for multiparty democracy in 1993, there was the hope of improved management in state affairs and livelihoods for the ordinary man and woman on the street. Since the advent of democracy, Malawi has seen five administrations.
All these administrations came in promising a better Malawi. But you and I can bear witness that, over the years, the socio-economic status of Malawians has worsened. Our country remains one of the poorest in the world.
We, at the HRDC, believe that abuse of state resources and corruption is the root cause of this state of affairs and the time for serious action to rid the country of this cancer is now so that the majority of Malawians can start enjoying the benefits of their labour.
Over the years, we have seen individuals, both local and foreign, masquerading as investors but conniving with some evil-minded Malawians to defraud the already impoverished republic. Time has come to root out corruption in this country by prosecuting cases both those committed during the previous regimes and fresh ones to their logical conclusion.
It is undeniable fact that most of the corrupt kingpins came into the country poor yet they have amassed wealth stolen from successive governments with the help of the ruling elites.
Our concern comes because these people plundered the state during the United Democratic Front (UDF) regime, continued to loot under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) before hijacking the People’s Party administration. The return of DPP into power took the country to the worst levels on the Corruption Perception Index.
The election of the Tonse Government on a popular vote brought some hope but almost 20 months into power, abuse of public resources and corruption continue to deprive Malawians of the much needed development and improved livelihoods.
The absence of successive Governments prosecuting or pursuing corruption cases to their logical conclusion has resulted in custodians of public resources thinking they can abuse them willy nilly and get away with it. Over the years, the State has accumulated corruption cases that have not been concluded to date.
For example, what happened to the 77 case files and what is the progress on the infamous Cashgate cases?
As a result of this State-capture and lack of decisive action against perpetrators by various administrations, those that supply goods and services to the Government tend to overvalue their goods, sometimes even quadrupling their prices because they are politically connected and are fully aware that their invoices would be honoured regardless.
The country was shocked to learn from the Attorney General (AG) recently that compensation claims from people against the Government have gone up to K2 trillion which is more than the national budget currently standing at K1.9 trillion. Unfortunately, most of these claims are dubious, exaggerated and aimed at taking advantage of the government systems according to the AG.
It is time we stepped up efforts to safeguard public resources. A country this poor cannot afford to bleed money like this. We cannot continue to run this country like business as usual. Things have to change and they have to change now.
To attain our call for conclusion of corruption cases both old and new, we appeal to the State investigating and prosecuting agencies such as the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Attorney General and the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) to work together.
What is obtaining at the moment where the agencies are seen in public as working to outshine each other is not conducive to fighting the vice which is perpetrated by sophisticated and influential people in society.
We also would like to urge prosecuting authorities to avoid selective justice and ensure respect for the rule of law in fighting corruption.
CALL TO ACTION
Our call is for the Government to facilitate the establishment of the Financial Crimes Court that will dedicate its time and resources to dealing with cases of public resources abuse and corruption with speed.
We call upon the prosecuting agencies not to apply selective justice regardless of the status of suspects.
We also call for better collaboration between the offices of the DPP, AG and ACB so that there is a seamless and more concerted approach to prosecuting high-level corruption cases.
Finally, we call upon the President and Government to ensure that those holding public offices especially at the top level are relieved of their positions immediately they are connected to the abuse of public resources and corruption allegations so that they face the law without any due influence.