The National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NACA) on Wednesday met the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to discuss ways of strengthening the fight against corruption and money laundering in Malawi.
During the meeting, Members of Parliament (MPs) complained that cases of corruption are still rising despite the country having the Anti-Corruption Bureau and Financial Intelligent Authority (FIA) which were established to deal with corruption.
The MPs noted that there are people who have built big houses and have bought expensive cars in a short time but the FIA and ACB are failing to trace the source of money.
On her part, Former Director of FIA Atuweni Juwayeyi-Agbermodji said some people who steal large amounts of money in Malawi build their houses in places such as rural areas where it is difficult for the FIA to reach.
She said the FIA is doing its best in the fight against corruption and money laundering.
“If the FIA finds that someone is stealing from government they freeze his/ her account immediately and work together with ACB,” she said, adding that the FIA also freezes accounts of foreigners involved in corruption.
Speaking on challenges that the FIA face when dealing with corruption and money laundering cases, Juwayeyi-Agbermodji said people do not have proper understanding on how Financial Crimes Act is supposed to be implemented and how it works.
“There is general understanding that the FIA has a large screen and is able to see transactions all the time which is not the case.
“And another challenge is funding. Although the FIA receives funding every year, it is not enough and that create some problems on how the FIA works and I think the Parliament can help in making sure there is an increase of funding from government,” she said.
Juwayeyi-Agbermodji added that the collaboration between the alliance of NGOs and Parliamentary committees will help a lot because there will be accountability from all angles.
“The MPs are the one that make laws that govern our country so engaging them in the fight against corruption will help a lot because there are some that need to be amended that can also assist FIA and ACB in the fight against corruption and also money laundering,” said Juwayeyi-Agbermodji.
Speaking during the meeting, chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Alliance Moses Mkandawire said NACA is engaging PAC and LAC because Parliament plays a critical law in terms of providing oversight functions.
“In terms of laws there are number of gaps that have been identified that’s why we would want to work with PAC and LAC on behalf of Parliament so we can sit down and scrutinize. In that way we can strengthen the fight against serious corruption,” said Mkandawire.
On his part, chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee Ken Kandodo said the MPs were told about the state of corruption in the country and the improvements that have been made in laws to help in reducing corruption in Malawi.
“There is an intention that we may have a formalized arrangement between Parliament and CSO on the issue in order to reduce corruption in Malawi”, said Kandodo.
Kandodo further added that the MPs also had an opportunity to see how some of the laws have been implemented in Malawi.
“For example the way the FIA is governed you can see that recently the laws were improved to make sure the FIA is more effective to combat corruption and money laundering.
“Another issue is that right now there are laws that allow the FIA to confiscate assets for someone who has been involved in corruption or has stolen some money and that is an improvement because in the past that did not happen and I think this will help a lot, it will scare people because they will think twice before stealing money or doing corruption,” said Kandodo.
The National Anti-Corruption Alliance is an alliance of CHRR, Synod of Livingstonia, Malawi Law society and Youth and Society.