Malawi’s corruption prompts democracy group pull-out


Malawi’s endemic corruption has prompted the National Democratic Institute to cease funding governance and civil society organizations after five years, reports suggest.

“The government and other stake holders should come in to deal with high levels of corruption,” said NDI country director Sande Kumbaya.

Civil society groups have called on members of parliament and the country’s Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate graft.

“The systematic looting of public coffers by civil servants, private contractors and politicians saw them steal US$31 million from government coffers,” according to the University of Malawi’s Jimmy Kainja. “It is estimated that about 35% of government funds have been stolen over the past decade.”

Malawi continues to enjoy a stable and democratic government, according to the World Bank. “Since the end of the one party regime in 1993, it has organized five peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections, one of which was a tripartite including local government elections,” it adds.

But the country is only partly free, according to Freedom House rankings.

The results of a national audit following the 2015 Cashgate corruption scandal “revealed that the equivalent of $800 million had been looted from public coffers between 2009 and 2014,” the group notes. “Prosecutions of those involved in the scandal have been slow, and President Peter Mutharika’s administration struggled to regain the confidence of international donors who cut off budget support in its wake.”

NDI is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

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