Malawi has been ranked 129 out of 180 countries on the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with a score of 30.
Watchdog Transparency International published the rankings on Thursday and has warned that the Prophet Shepherd Bushiri extradition cases could provide a test of the country’s anti-corruption stance.
According to Transparency International, Malawi is a significant decliner on the CPI as the country has dropped seven points since 2012.
Corruption cases cited in the report include the “cash-gate scandal” of 2013 involving high levels of public sector corruption and misappropriation of funds and recent revelations of public sector corruption of astronomical proportions, with an estimated US$1 billion allegedly stolen by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
“A new government elected in June 2020 promises a fresh start, with several investigations into corruption already underway, and some key arrests made in connection with a cement import scandal,” reads part of the report.
However, the report warns that the extradition of Bushiri – a high-profile Malawian pastor accused of money laundering in South Africa – may be another test of the country’s commitment to anti-corruption.
On the index, Denmark and New Zealand are top with 88 points. Syria, Somalia and South Sudan come last, with 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Seychelles consistently earns top marks in the region with 66, followed by Botswana (60) and Cabo Verde (58).
In order to reverse the region’s position as the worst performing on the CPI, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa have been advised to take decisive action, particularly in those economies already weakened by the ongoing economic recession stemming from COVID-19.
“Rather than add pledges, countries must enforce numerous existing anti-corruption commitments, including Agenda 2063, the transformative agenda of the African Union for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
“These commitments can only be successfully realised if the continent is rooted in good governance, democratic values, gender equality, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law,” the report says.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
Like previous years, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.