The United Kingdom has committed £10.8m (approx. MWK11 billion) to support Malawi in tackling serious and organised corruption.
The UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, made the announcement after his audience with President Lazarus Chakwera at State House in Lilongwe on Tuesday, 6 October, 2020.
Since 2016, the UK has been supporting Malawi through the Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption (TSOC) Programme to strengthen the anti-corruption environment and increase penalties for serious and organised corruption.
The extra funding will see this programme being extended up to 2024, supporting law enforcement efforts in asset recovery and addressing high-level crime.
Minister Duddridge said it is important to tackle corruption in order to alleviate poverty and the UK is committed to helping Malawi do so by building robust institutions to deal with serious and organised crime.
“With this funding the UK can support this administration’s vision of fighting corruption by addressing technical and political barriers to reducing corruption in Malawi, and building stronger public financial management systems that help prevent corruption occurring in the first place.”
The TSOC programme will reduce the opportunity for corrupt activity by strengthening the systems regulating how money and services move through the economy; and increase the risks of engaging in corruption, by publicly exposing corrupt individuals and corporations, seizing assets, and improving strategic casework and conviction rates.
The UK has been supporting the Malawian authorities to investigate high-level corruption since the Cashgate scandal of 2013.
Some of the notable achievements include the conviction of 17 individuals (14 having been sentenced to a total of 79 years in prison) and MK782 million retrieved in assets linked to Cashgate with the help of UK technical assistance and forensic audit support. A further MK16.5 billion has been identified in ‘sums at risk’ for forfeiture pending scrutiny by the courts.
Malawi’s legal system has also been strengthened through the introduction of plea bargaining and digital data analysis – with UK support – for the first time in select cases.
There has also been enhanced digital forensic capability of the Anti-Corruption Bureau through a new digital data forensic suite.
In Malawi, corruption is rampant and the Global Financial Integrity estimate that £400m (USD585m) leaves Malawi illegally every year – twice the country’s annual health budget.