Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's President Joyce Banda's Take on Corruption? February 5, 2013 Has The Answers








Your Excellency, Chief Justice Richard Banda, Retired.
Your Honour, Right Hon. Khumbo Kachali,
Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
Hon. Ralph Kasambara, Sc, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Rt. Honourable Henry Chimunthu Banda, M.P. The Speaker of Parliament.
Your Lordship the Chief Justice, Hon. Lovemore Munlo, Sc.
Mr. Bright Msaka, Sc, Chief Secretary to Government.
Justice Rizine Mzikamanda, Sc, Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Bishop Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe, Chairman of the National Integrity Committee,
And members of the Committee here present
Hon. Dr. Clement Chiwaya, Member of Parliament for Mangochi Central Constituency.
Mr. Thomas Chirwa, District Commissioner, Mangochi District Council.
Leaders of various Political Parties
Members of the Civil society
The Media
Distinguished invited guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great pleasure for me to preside over this year’s Commemoration of the Anti-Corruption Day here in Mangochi. Today is a very important day for our nation as we commemorate our efforts in the fight against corruption. Today we reflect on our successes and challenges in uprooting the dangers and evils of corruption in our society under the theme ““Media; a Partner in the Fight Against Corruption.”

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you all may be aware, Malawi suffers corruption in many different ways: from high level corruption to simple bribery that impedes service delivery. In the past, corruption has been enforced by patronage and nepotism that has exacerbated inequality and poverty in Malawian society.

Since the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy in 2008, the framework for dealing with corruption does exist in the country. Furthermore, Malawi has a very good Constitution and strong anti-corruption laws to fight corruption. Coordinating structures and initiatives by civil society and private sector do exist to support government efforts to fight corruption.

However, there is a very big disparity between institutional framework and practice. As you may recall, during my speech to Parliament on May 18th, 2012, I observed that Government was losing a lot of resources to cases of fraud, embezzlement and misprocurement in ministries, departments and statutory corporations. According to Transparency International Reports, Corruption is seen to be particularly severe in the police, registry and permit services, customs and the judiciary.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

When I took office, our country faced numerous social economic problems. My Government decided to implement the economic recovery plan as a roadmap to recover the economy. One of the strategies of the economic recovery plan is to ensure a systemic approach through the Projects Implementation and Monitoring Unit, to monitoring implementation of Government projects which in turn has a greater impact on overcoming corruption.

In the past, Government efforts to fight corruption have been caught in a vicious cycle where as a country we have not broken through. This calls for new strategies in dealing with corruption in the country.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

My Government is aware that our nation is facing tremendous forces against the economic recovery plan. One such major evil force is corruption. Corruption, if left unchecked, will erode the moral values of our society and retard the development course of our nation. Corruption is evil and if unchecked, will drain the necessary available resources for putting our economy back on track. Corruption frustrates Government efforts for rebuilding the economy. Corruption benefits a few greedy individuals and hurts the poor most. It diverts public resources from essential social services such as hospital drugs and the building of public infrastructures. This is why my Government is determined to fight corruption to the bitter end in order to create a corruption free Malawi where social and economic development flourish.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Through the economic recovery plan, I have also initiated Ministerial Delivery Meetings to enhance efficient and effective delivery of public service. During these meetings many structural deficiencies have been identified and corrected. For example, in some Ministries and departments, very junior officers were chairing internal procurement committees and because of low level of responsibility, issues of compliance and accountability were overlooked. I have since directed that the Principal Secretaries and Controlling Officers should personally chair the Internal Procurement Committees and remain personally accountable for procurement in Government.

It was also noted that many projects could wait for months because a “no objection” response was not received either from the Office of Director of Public Procurement or Ministry of Justice. As a result of such delays, many projects were either not implemented and lost financing or implemented very late. During these delivery meetings, I have directed that if a ministry does not receive feedback for three months, for whatever reason, it will be granted that the “no objection” clearance has been authorized.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my reasoned view that for us to fight corruption, we need to build an efficient and effective public service that delivers on its mandate. For us to fight corruption, we need policies that emphasize equity and development. My Government is committed to ensure that we fight poverty by creating wealth and jobs so that people have access to decent incomes. My Government is developing new and unconventional ways to overcome corruption.

In this regard, my Government is building capacity of our security agencies to redirect their efforts to economic intelligence where we can uncover many networks and rings that are undermining our economy. I want to warn anyone who engages in corruption, wherever you are, that very soon you will be exposed.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

My Government is aware of the important role that various sectors play in the fight against corruption. You will all agree with me that corrupt free public and private institutions are vital for the development of our nation. As I said earlier on, corruption undermines the effective service delivery of our institutions, hence the need for concerted efforts to eradicate all forms of corrupt practices in all sectors of our society.

This function today presents yet another platform for my Government to reiterate our stand that we will not tolerate corruption at any level in this country. Today, as we commemorate the National Anti-Corruption Day, I wish to send a stern warning to Government Departments and all other sectors including private sector, that my Government will not allow its development efforts to be undermined because of selfish individuals who wish to enrich themselves by diverting public resources meant to uplift the life of our people. Such unscrupulous individuals will not be left scot free. This administration will ensure that corrupt practices when reported are thoroughly investigated, efficiently prosecuted and those found guilty are punished accordingly.

To demonstrate my Government’s commitment to fight corruption, we have appointed a respected judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal so that the Anti-Corruption Bureau can regain its respect and integrity in society.

My Government is also committed to ensure that the Office of the Auditor General exercises independence and professionalism in the discharge of its duties.

To that end my Government will ensure that these public accountability institutions including the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Office of the Auditor General are appropriately resourced to enable them operate independently, efficiently and effectively. The Bureau must not be used as a tool for witch hunting. The Bureau must be allowed to carry out its work professionally, impartially, fairly and without any interference.

Let me make this very clear, here and now, that this President, standing before you, is determined to get to the bottom of corruption in this country. There will be no sacred cows; no protected species and no special ones. As for the Bureau and the Auditor General I want you to fully join me on this crusade to rid mother Malawi of this evil.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Today I am pleased that Government is partnering with the media in our commemoration of the National Anti-Corruption Day. The media is our partner in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, a policy document that Government, through the Anti-Corruption Bureau, is using to involve various sectors in the fight against corruption in this country.

The theme for this function: “Media; a Partner in the Fight Against Corruption,” underscores the importance of the media in making our country, a corrupt free nation.

The media has the power to reach out to all Malawians and inform them on the evils of corruption and how everyone should take part in the fight against corruption.

In the fight against corruption, the role of the media is to support Government in disseminating messages on evils of corruption, foster the support of public in the fight against corruption and expose corrupt practices in different sectors of our society for the law to take its course. This is why my Government values, supports and upholds press freedom.

The role of the media is neither to frustrate government in its efforts to develop the nation nor to confuse the public, but to partner with Malawians in advancing anti-corruption drive for sustainable development of our nation.

While my Government values and supports media freedom, I wish to appeal to all media houses to act with maturity and responsibility as you reach out to the people. The media should be a force to build our nation, not to destroy it through publications or airing of malicious fabricated stories for personal benefit.

Government is pleased however, that most media houses are supporting our anti-corruption efforts as demonstrated by your presence today. I wish to commend you for your support to my Government.

I would also like to thank the media pillar for the gifts that you have given to me. I will be listening to news on that radio. I will also use the dictionary as I read.

Lastly, I want to thank our development partners for their support in the fight against corruption in this country. I also wish to commend the efforts that are being made by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the fight against corruption. I know it is tough but I encourage you to keep up the good job. You have a friend at State House in the fight against corruption.

Thank you very much and May God Bless Malawi

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