A report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) indicates that corruption is getting worse in Malawi with 1,217 complaints recorded in 2020/21, a 90 percent increase from the previous year, 2019/20.
According to the 2020/21 annual report submitted to Parliament, out of the 1,217 recorded cases, 399 cases were recommended for investigation.
“There were 171 complaints [14 percent] referred to other institution for their appropriate action and 183 complaints [15 percent] did not contain enough information and were either sent back for clarification or closed,” reads part of the report.
In 2020/21, the bureau had 103 cases under prosecution, 16 were completed but only four convictions were secured.
The number of reported cases has increased by 90 percent from 201/20 when ACB received 642 complaints and recommended 187 for investigation.
The current level of cases is close to the cashgate period when ACB recorded 1,565 complaints out of which 587 cases were investigated. During cashgate, billions of public funds were stolen by public officers and businesspersons.
ACB said the rise in number of reported complaints indicate that people in the country have confidence in the ACB. The bureau also attributed the rise in complaints to increased awareness.
The bureau however, admitted that Malawi is losing its fight against corruption as evidenced by international studies which look at many facets of governance issues when assessing a country.
“For instance, the 2020 Transparency International [TI] Corruption Perception Index ranked Malawi at position 129 out of 180 countries with a score of 30, down from position 123 out of 180 with a score of 31.
“Similarly, a gloomy picture is portrayed by the Worldwide Governance Indicators [WGI]1 for 2020. Accordingly, the performance of Malawi is poorly rated on the control of corruption with a rank of 39.42 out of 209 countries in the world,” reads part of the report.
Rights activist, Gift Trapence from the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, has since urged government to fully support the bureau by increasing funding and disbursing the funds timely.