AFRICA/MALAWI - “Corruption scandal consequences ever more serious” missionary says

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - “In a poor country the consequences of bad government and corruption are terrible” Italian Monfort missionary p. Piergiorgio Gamba informs Fides about the consequences of the so-called Cash Gate, the misappropriation of foreign funds which led international donors to suspend their aid which covered 40% of the nation’s budget (see Fides 10/11/2014).
“The latest in a series of problems, is a strike of all the employees in the judicial system” the missionary writes. “The prolonging week after week of this form of protest is having serious repercussions on the country. Prisons, and especially police stations, are overflowing with no one present able to decide about the release of an indictee; hearings have stalled and cases, especially those connected with the world of work and commerce, are paralysed”.
“The 40% shortage of government funds, which in the past came from donor country aid, has to be reckoned with. No one will help the government of Malawi except with individually approved projects with monies going directly to the bank, bypassing the Treasury Department which in the past received these funds directly from other countries” Fr. Gamba adds.
The latest example of misappropriation of public funds concerns the National Aids Committee (NAC) for years in charge of all activities to support the fight against HIV-AIDS. “Hundreds of workers at all levels, educative-healthcare in particular have the task of receiving international aid assigned by the Global Fund to most affected countries. Over the next 3 years NAC expects to receive 560 million dollars” writes Fr. Gamba.
According to the local media, Malawi’s National Aids Committee, pressed by the President, passed monies destined to the AIDS campaign to certain journalists, besides funding other activities connected with the wife of the President, his tribe of origin and even the secret services.
“These new episodes of corruption will lead to an ulterior reduction of aid to people most in need” Fr. Gamba comments. “There is growing fear of a general strike, which would put the country back to the years of president Bingu wa Mutharika, when, in just one day of demonstrations, 20 people were killed the police. Fear which, sad to say, is no longer so remote” concludes the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 6/12/2014)