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Malawi

National Integrity System (MW0003)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Malawi National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Anti-Corruption Bureau and Office of the President and Cabinet, Good Governance Unit

Support Institution(s): Anti- Corruption Bureau, National Audit Office, Public Sector Reform Commission, The Judiciary, Parliament, The Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi Police Service, Malawi Electoral Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Immigration, Office of Director of Public Procurement, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Directorate of Public Assets declaration. Malawi Economic Justice Network-(MEJIN), Media Institute of Southern Africa-(MISA), Council for Non-Governmental Organizations of Malawi)-CONGOMA, Citizens for Justice-(CFJ), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace-(CCJP), National Construction Industry Council-(NCIC/COSTI Steering, Committee), Office of the Declaration of Asserts, Malawi Judiciary, and Malawi Police. Malawi Confederation of Commerce and Industry –(MCCI), General public

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Asset Disclosure, Audits and Controls, Capacity Building, Judiciary, Justice, Legislation & Regulation, Media & Telecommunications, Private Sector, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Malawi End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Malawi Progress Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo: The National Integrity System in Malawi constitutes all branches of government, the public, the private sector the media and civil society involved in prevention corruption and promotion of integrity. Corruption is a significant challenge in Malawi despite public support and government commitment to address the problem. The national anti – corruption effort has yielded mixed results as demonstrated by Malawi’s low ranking in international indices on corruption and integrity. Although a law requiring declaration of assets by senior elected representatives and public officials has now been enacted, the law itself is deficient, there is limited public awareness and the Office of the Director for Declaration Public Assets does not yet have adequate capacity to be fully functional and deliver on its mandate. The Access to information Bill has not yet been enacted to guarantee public access to information to ensure transparency and accountability. The Anti-Corruption Bureau lacks adequate resources to effectively deliver on its mandate of fighting and preventing corruption. The law establishing Anti-Corruption Bureau and governing its work has gaps that affect its efficiency and effectiveness. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions also lacks capacity and resources to effectively fight corruption and prosecute corruption cases. The Judiciary also lacks capacity and resources to try timely corruption cases. Weak coordination and inadequate resources undermine the national integrity system’s operations and effectiveness.

Main objective: To improve the effectiveness of the national integrity system in preventing and fighting corruption and promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in Malawi.

Brief description: This commitment requires urgent attention to ensure effective coordination and harmonization of the national effort to combat corruption and promote integrity, reviewing and addressing deficits in legislation of key accountability institutions to ensure that they are able to execute and fulfill their mandate, enhancing ethical conduct of political representatives and public officials and increasing public education and awareness on the prevention of corruption and reporting abuse of public resources.

Challenges: The strengthening of the national integrity system is a cross cutting issue as it contributes to improved and equitable delivery of public services, entrenches public integrity, ensures efficient and effective use of public resources to deliver equitable, adequate and quality services and also contributes to greater corporate transparency and accountability.

Intended results: The operationalization of this commitment will ensure that the country has the ability to prevent corruption and enhance integrity thereby contributing to better governance and a just society. It is envisaged that national accountability institutions will be capacitated in terms of having adequate resources to perform their functions efficiently and strengthened their independence in order to effectively fulfill their mandates. In addition, there will be improved internal governance regulations, procedures and practices among all institutions to ensure transparency and accountability. Finally, commitment to national integrity system will generate focused actions by all key stakeholders to advocate to legal, policy and broader governance reforms necessary for improved development outcomes.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. National Integrity System and Fight Against Corruption

Commitment Text:

This commitment requires urgent attention to ensure effective coordination and harmonization of the national effort to combat corruption and promote integrity, reviewing and addressing deficits in legislation of key accountability institutions to ensure that they are able to execute and fulfill their mandate, enhancing ethical conduct of political representatives and public officials and increasing public education and awareness on the prevention of corruption and reporting abuse of public resources.

Milestones:

3.1. National accountability institutions progressively having adequate resources to operate effectively

3.2. Reviewed legislation to remedy deficits in laws impacting on the fight against corruption

Responsible institutions: The Anti-Corruption Bureau and Office of the President and Cabinet Good Governance Unit

Supporting institutions: Anti-Corruption Bureau, National Audit Office, Public Sector Reform Commission, the Judiciary, Parliament, Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi Police Service, Malawi Electoral Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Immigration, Office of Director of Public Procurement, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Directorate of Public Assets Declaration, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJIN), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Council for Non-Governmental Organizations of Malawi (CONGOMA), Citizens for Justice (CFJ), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), National Construction Industry Council (NCIC/COSTI Steering, Committee), Office of the Declaration of Asserts, Malawi Judiciary, and Malawi Police, Malawi Confederation of Commerce and Industry (MCCI)

Start date: Not specified

End date: Not specified

Context and Objectives

Corruption remains a persistent problem for good governance and economic development in Malawi. Malawi ranked 120 out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index.[53] A joint Transparency International and Afrobarometer study in 2015 found that 69 percent of respondents in Malawi perceive their government to be doing badly in fighting corruption, while only 28 percent perceive it to be doing well.[54] The Centre for Social Research’s 2013 Governance and Corruption Survey found that 96 percent of Malawians view corruption as a serious problem in Malawi.[55] The 2014 “Cashgate” and 2016 “Tractorgate” corruption scandals (described in greater detail in Section II: Context) have demonstrated the weaknesses in the country’s anti-corruption legislation and have had far-reaching consequences for the country’s citizens. Notably, the loss of confidence in anti-corruption institutions following the “Cashgate” scandal prompted international donors to cancel USD 150 million in crucial foreign assistance to Malawi.[56]

The primary anti-corruption body in Malawi is the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). According to Global Integrity, the ACB “is regularly accused of ignoring major corruption accusations leveled against senior government officials,” and the ACB’s independence is questionable due to the president’s powers to hire and fire the Bureau’s director.[57] This analysis was echoed in Transparency International’s 2013 assessment of the ACB within the context of Malawi’s National Integrity System.[58] Malawi has also passed anti-corruption legislation, such as the Public Officers’ (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act of 2013, which requires the President and Cabinet, Members of Parliament and prescribed public officers to declare their assets, liabilities and business interests upon assuming office.[59]

This commitment seeks to reduce corruption by ensuring that anti-corruption institutions have adequate funding to fulfill their mandates, and by addressing deficiencies in relevant legislation. While the commitment calls for “increasing public education and awareness on the prevention of corruption and reporting abuse of public resources,” the relevance to OGP values of the individual milestones is unclear. For example, the funding assurances of the anti-corruption institutions and the review of anti-corruption legislation do not explicitly involve consultations with civil society or the public, and there are no additional mechanisms that will be put in place to allow citizens to report corruption. The milestones do not provide details on how the funding and legislation review will be carried out, and the commitment does not specify which institutions and legislation will be reviewed. Therefore, the specificity is marked as low. While the lack of funding prohibits the ACB from fulfilling its mandate, the commitment does not address the issue of its lack of independence from the government. Had the commitment included measures to provide greater public oversight of the ACB’s activities and decisions, the potential impact might have been greater. However, as written in the action plan, the commitment’s potential impact is marked as minor.

Completion

In the Draft 2017-2018 Financial Statement, the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Development lists the projected 2017-2018 budget for the ACB at roughly 3.065 million MWK, which represents an increase of about 1 million MWK from 2016-2017 (2.063 million MWK).[60] The Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations, which oversees the Public Officers’ Act, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Malawi Human Rights Commission, which oversees the Access to Information Bill (discussed in Commitment 1), are all projected to receive budgets of varying amounts in 2017-2018. The ambassadors from the European Union and the US have welcomed the increased allocation of funds to these good governance institutions.[61] According to feedback provided by experts in Malawi, the amount of funding the ACB received was lower than the allocated budget.[62]

The review of deficiencies in anti-corruption legislation (Milestone 3.2) is difficult to assess. The 2004 Corrupt Practices Act stipulates that the ACB must provide Parliament with annual reports on its performance.[63] The ACB’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan calls for certain corruption-related legal reforms, such as amending the Parliamentary and Presidential Act to incorporate issues of corruption, creating a code of conduct for Parliament, and reviewing laws that effect the private sector to incorporate issues of corruption.[64]

The absence of concrete activities in the milestones makes the overall completion level of the commitment difficult to assess. Therefore, the completion is considered limited.

Early Results

The ACB website currently does not list the total number of complaints received, completed investigations   , or cases recommended for prosecution beyond the years 2012-2013.[65] The ACB has continued to pursue corruption cases during the first year of the action plan. For example, in June 2017, the ACB arrested the former Roads Authority CEO for illegally recommending his own company to be awarded a World Bank contract,[66] and in July 2017 ACB arrested the former agriculture minister over illegal procurement contracts for maize imports from Zambia.[67] The ACB’s investigation into the high-profile and politically-charged “Cashgate” scandal is ongoing, despite human and financial challenges, as well as allegations of political interference.[68]

Next Steps

Although Malawi has anti-corruption institutions and legislation that generally conform to international best practices, enforcement remains inconsistent and corruption remains a major barrier to economic development. While providing sufficient funding for institutions and updating relevant legislation are important initiatives, future action plans should more directly involve civil society and the public in the development and implementation of anti-corruption commitments. For example, anti-corruption legislation could be reviewed following consultations with the stakeholders, and the ACB could better educate the public on how to report corruption through its existing mechanisms. Such initiatives would help improve public participation in anti-corruption policy and would raise awareness of existing corruption reporting options.

[53] Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016.

[54] Transparency International and Afrobarometer’s African edition of the Global Corruption Barometer, https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/people_and_corruption_africa_survey_2015.

[55] Chancellor College Centre for Social Research, Governance and Corruption Survey 2013, May 2014, Pg. 8, http://www.acbmw.org/wp-content/downloads/Governance_Corruption_Survey_Report_2013.pdf

[56] Jimu, Christopher, “UK says Malawi aid freeze not punishment”, The Nation, 26 November 2013, http://mwnation.com/uk-says-malawi-aid-freeze-not-punishment/.

[58] Malawi National Integrity System Assessment Report 2013, http://issuu.com/transparencyinternational/docs/2013_malawinis_en?e=2496456/6675410

[60] Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Draft 2017-2018 Financial Statement, http://www.finance.gov.mw/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=306&Itemid=107, Pg. 41.

[61] Chizimba, Henry, “Mixed reactions on the 2017-2018 Malawi national budget; donors and oppositions hails it”, the Maravi Post, 20 September 2017,

http://www.maravipost.com/mix-reactions-2017-2018-malawi-national-budget-donors-oppositions-hails/.

[62] Comments provided to the IRM by Fletcher Tembo, former Director of the Making All Voices Count Programme, 26 April 2018.

[64] Strategic Plan for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (2012-2017), Pg. 46, http://www.acbmw.org/wp-content/downloads/Strategic_Plan_140813.pdf.

[65] Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi, http://www.acbmw.org/?page_id=291.

[66] Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi, “ACB Arrests Former Roads Authority CEO Eng. Hiwa in Lilongwe, http://www.acbmw.org/?p=629.

[67] Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi, “ACB Arrests Former Minister of Agriculture- Hon. Dr. George Chaponda and Grace Mijaga Mhango, http://www.acbmw.org/?p=648.

[68] Nhlema, Jaqueline, “New Cashgate Files Piling on ACB Table”, Zodiak Online, 7 March 2018, https://zodiakmalawi.com/top-stories/new-cashgate-files-piling-on-acb-table.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. National Integrity System and Fight Against Corruption

Commitment Text:

This commitment requires urgent attention to ensure effective coordination and harmonization of the national effort to combat corruption and promote integrity, reviewing and addressing deficits in legislation of key accountability institutions to ensure that they are able to execute and fulfill their mandate, enhancing ethical conduct of political representatives and public officials and increasing public education and awareness on the prevention of corruption and reporting abuse of public resources.

Milestones:

3.1. National accountability institutions progressively having adequate resources to operate effectively

3.2. Reviewed legislation to remedy deficits in laws impacting on the fight against corruption

Responsible Institution: The Anti-Corruption Bureau and Office of the President and Cabinet Good Governance Unit

Supporting institutions: Anti-Corruption Bureau, National Audit Office, Public Sector Reform Commission, the Judiciary, Parliament, Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi Police Service, Malawi Electoral Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Immigration, Office of Director of Public Procurement, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Directorate of Public Assets Declaration, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJIN), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Council for Non-Governmental Organizations of Malawi (CONGOMA), Citizens for Justice (CFJ), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), National Construction Industry Council (NCIC/COSTI Steering, Committee), Office of the Declaration of Asserts, Malawi Judiciary, and Malawi Police, Malawi Confederation of Commerce and Industry (MCCI)

Start date: Not specified

End date: Not specified

Commitment Aim

The commitment aimed to improve the effectiveness of Malawi’s national integrity system in fighting corruption. Malawians continue to perceive corruption as a serious problem in the country Chancellor College Centre for Social Research, Governance and Corruption Survey 2013, May 2014, page 8, http://www.acbmw.org/wp-content/downloads/Governance_Corruption_Survey_Report_2013.pdf which has been extenuated by several major corruption scandals in recent years. This commitment sought to ensure that anti-corruption institutions received adequate funding to fulfil their mandates, and to address deficiencies in relevant legislation. This included the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Office of the Director for Declaration Public Assets, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Judiciary.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The IRM Progress Report considered the implementation of this commitment limited at the end of the first year. Although the 2017-18 budget showed an increase of almost 50 percent, compared to the 2016-17 budget for the ACB, the improvement in operations was minimal, and few key corruption cases were taken forward. Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Draft 2017-2018 Financial Statement, http://www.finance.gov.mw/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=306&Itemid=107 It was also noted that there was a general absence of concrete activities in the milestones which made the overall completion level of the commitment difficult to assess.

End of term: Limited

Following the IRM Progress Report, resource allocation has mostly not changed for ACB, which registered only a 14 percent increase, from MWK 3.06bn in 2017/18 to MWK 3.29bn in 2018/19. Ibid. There was slightly more for the Malawi Human Rights Commission, whose budget increased by about 36 percent, from MWK 557m in 2017/18 to MWK 759m in 2018/19. Ibid. However, the Directorate of Public Officers’ Declarations, whose main goal is “to promote public confidence in the public service by administering declarations in a transparent, participatory and professional manner”, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Draft Estimates of Expenditure on Recurrent and Capital Budget for Financial Year 2018/19 – Program Based Budget, http://www.finance.gov.mw/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=306&Itemid=107 only registered a 10 percent increase, from MWK 705m in 2017/18 to MWK 776m in 2018/19.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Public Accountability: Did Not Change

This commitment did not result in changes to government practice. While the commitment calls for increasing public education and awareness on the prevention of corruption and reporting abuse of public resources, its direct relevance to OGP values was unclear. For example, the funding assurances of the anti-corruption institutions and the review of anti-corruption legislation do not explicitly involve consultations with civil society or the public, and there have been no additional mechanisms put in place to allow citizens to report corruption.

Furthermore, the international corruption rating for Malawi during the 2016-2018 period has diminished. In 2016, Transparency International placed Malawi at 112 out of 180 countries (2015 rating); in 2017 the country dropped to position 120 (2016 rating), and in 2018 it dropped to position 122 out of 180 countries (2017 rating). Transparency International: Malawi, https://www.transparency.org/country/MWI Some experts have pointed out that the country is seen to have strong anti-corruption laws but has significant gaps between law and practice. Farzana Nawaz (2012), Transparency International: Malawi, https://www.transparency.org/country/MWI

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report, Malawi has not started the development of its next action plan.

The IRM researcher recommends that future action plans more directly involve civil society in the development and implementation of anti-corruption commitments. For example, anti-corruption legislation could be reviewed following consultations with stakeholders, and the ACB could better educate the public on how to report corruption through its existing mechanisms. Such initiatives require additional resources, but they could help improve public participation in anti-corruption policy and would raise awareness of existing corruption reporting options.