TI report on Malawi: corruption remains a major challenge in multiparty Malawi

To curb corruption, rules and regulations on public procurement and accounting systems must be implemented and public contractual obligations adhered to, says TI report

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



A new report, The National Integrity Systems TI Country Report - Malawi 2004 has been published today by Transparency International (TI), the leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption.

The TI study, carried out between 2003 and 2004, assesses the effectiveness of the Malawian National Integrity System (NIS). The NIS is comprised of the key institutions that contribute to the fight against corruption in a country. The study looks at the culture of corruption, transparency and accountability, donor-government co-operation on the fight against corruption, and future prospects for the consolidation of good governance and democracy in the country. The report finds that corruption has increased in Malawi, in part as a result of weak institutions of state restraint.

Malawi is a small, poor country in Southern Africa that emerged from authoritarian rule in 1993 after more than 30 years of one-party dictatorship. "The re-introduction of multiparty democracy in 1993 brought some hope for tackling these challenges in the country," according to Dr Muzong Kodi, TI's Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, speaking from Berlin. In 1995 the Malawi Government instituted the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and launched a comprehensive Corrupt Practices Act, which was later amended in 2004. "Despite these measures, corruption has continued to pose serious challenges in the country to such an extent that some foreign donors withdrew their support from the Malawi Government in 2003," states Kodi. Weak governance in the country, which led to this withdrawal of international support, in turn affected the macro-economic and political environment.

The study's author, Mr Nixon Khembo, continues: "The study finds that corruption increased in Malawi as a result of weak institutions of state restraint. That is to say, parliamentary oversight was weak because of executive dominance, accounting systems were not efficient due to lack of resources, constitutional bodies depended largely on foreign donors for their functions, and political parties in Government depended on state resources for their survival and activities." The TI study was conducted while Malawi was celebrating 10 years of multiparty democracy but also grappling with a spiraling corruption problem.

Furthermore, the study finds that the legal system in Malawi has been overridden with obligations other than fighting corruption, that civil service remuneration has been meager, that the the ACB has been lacked functional autonomy, and that media has remained underdeveloped. With the re-introduction of multiparty democracy came a culture of extra-legal accumulation and wanton abuse of public resources, which may be attributed to a legacy of a culture of silence and absolutist power that characterised the one party state. As a result, political leaders and public officials implicated in corruption still fail to resign their positions to facilitate investigation and the course of justice. Similarly, there is political and bureaucratic resistance to the constitutional declaration of assets by incumbent political and bureaucratic officials.

The TI NIS country study recommends the following measures to promote the fight against corruption in Malawi:

To improve governance and curb corruption, it has not been enough to introduce multiparty democracy in Malawi. What is required above all is building institutions of state restraint, together with stabilising the macro-economic and political environment, reducing poverty, and entrenching the rule of law. The principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, transparency and accountability and a culture of critical citizenship must be at the heart of the anti-corruption agenda in Malawi if transparency and better governance are to prevail.

-------------------------------------------

The National Integrity Systems TI Country Study Report Malawi 2004 and other country study reports can be downloaded at: http://www.transparency.org/

Note for editors:
Transparency International has developed the concept of the National Integrity System (NIS). The NIS is the sum total of the laws, institutions and practises in a country that maintain accountability and integrity of public, private and civil society organisations. The NIS is concerned with combating corruption as part of the larger struggle against misconduct and misappropriation, and with creating an efficient and effective governance structure in a country.

 


For any press enquiries please contact

Malawi:
Nixon Khembo
Tel: +265-88-97964
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Berlin:
Stéphane Stassen
Tel: +49-30-3438 2064
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

Transparency International has been at the Open Government Partnership's global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Comment gagner la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique

Aujourd’hui est la Journée africaine de lutte contre la corruption – une occasion opportunité pour reconnaitre le progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique et le travail significatif qui reste encore à accomplir.

How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

African Anti-Corruption Day is an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do.

Increasing accountability and safeguarding billions in climate finance

In December 2015, governments from around the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement, agreeing to tackle climate change and keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. They committed to spend US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

After Gürtel, what next for Spain’s struggle with political corruption?

At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. At this critical juncture in Spain’s struggle with political corruption, Transparency International urges all parties to join forces against impunity and support anti-corruption efforts in public life.

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media