Share via Email A Malawian activist takes part in a protest in Blantyre against the endemic corruption revealed by an audit of government finances. Photograph: AFP A senior official has been shot, millions of dollars are missing and there are suspects at the highest level of government. It is likely to result in public service cuts, with district officials potentially left without the resources to fund even the most basic provisions such as ambulances or medicines. The experiences of ordinary people, however, have rarely been reported, despite the participation and empowerment rhetoric that dominates the development debate. Citizens losing out is a familiar political story, but what can be done about it?
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Reports claim some electoral candidates benefited from money taken from government coffers. It prompted Britain and other donors to freeze aid while dozens of civil servants, businessmen and politicians were put on trial. Last year the government estimated that Cashgate had cost it about 13bn kwacha. According to the newspaper, the report suggested that the companies were in league with officials of commercial banks. A total of 32 cheques worth 1. Paul Mphwiyo, budget director in the finance ministry, was shot and seriously wounded in September as he was about to expose a corruption ring.
Malawi held elections in May Nine individuals who received government money, either directly or through close relatives, without providing goods or services, were registered by the Malawi Electoral Commission as election candidates, the South African newspaper noted. Lutepo was sacked by Banda after the scandal came to light; he ran as an independent candidate, but lost.
Banda, also defeated at the polls, has always maintained her innocence. They were briefly arrested last year and released on bail, but there appears to have been little further development in the case.
'Cashgate' - Malawi's murky tale of shooting and corruption
The population is less than , The big employers are government and aid agencies. Only a few thousand attend university each year. It is harder to escape scrutiny than in most places. A week later a treasury official was shot outside his home. An independent report into the scandal published this week by Baker Tilly, a British accountancy firm, describes the scale of the theft and how it operated.
Money from Malawi ‘Cashgate’ scandal allegedly funded electoral campaigns
Malawi's Cashgate corruption scandal highlights importance of accountability