US$3.1 trillion stolen from Malawi since 1964


Member of Parliament Werani Chilenga says illegal financial flows have left Malawi poorer, with the country losing US$3.1 trillion over the past six decades.

According to Chilenga who is Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Tax Justice, illegal financial deals which have been happening since 1964, particularly in the extractive and wildlife industries and at Malawi Revenue Authority, have seen the country lose US$3.1 trillion.

He added that employees at Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) are also involved as collected revenue is diverted into personal bank accounts and not government’s accounts.

“We will go flat out to expose these malpractices, particularly in the extractive and wildlife industries. We will also go after the revenue collectors. We feel that there is a lot of illicit financial flows at MRA. Malawians have lost billions of kwachas through illicit financial flows at MRA. We cannot talk about the figures. They are in billions. Billions indeed! There is money, which is being collected, but not being deposited into Account Number One, other bank accounts have been created and the money is going there,” said Chilenga.

He added that he will reveal more details about the malpractices some of which he said started during the United Democratic Front (UDF) administration and have continued over the years.

Chilenga who is also Chitipa South legislator was speaking in Lilongwe last week at an event where Members of Parliament were oriented on tax justice and illicit financial flows.

The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) organized the orientation meeting and its executive director Bertha Phiri said reports from African Union and Economic Commission of Africa show that huge amounts of money have been lost through tax evasion, tax holidays and mining licenses, among others.

“Statistics are so alarming that we are losing a lot through these illicit financial flows,” said Phiri, adding that it is important to have a Parliamentary Committee to oversee tax justice.