Launch of the Malawi National Integrity System Assessment Report 2013; Cash Gate Timing Just A Coincidence

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The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), in partnership with the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC) and Transparency International (TI), will launch the Malawi National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment Report on 29 November 2013.
The report was conducted with financial support of the Department for international Development (DFID) between June 2012 and July 2013.
The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Malawi’s institutions in preventing and fighting corruption and in fostering transparency and integrity. Furthermore, the study serves as a springboard for actions among the government and anti-corruption community in terms of policy reforms, evidence-based advocacy or further in-depth evaluations of specific governance deficits.
A total of 14 institutions in the public, civil society, political and private sectors were examined for the study. These include,
• the Legislature,
• Executive Judiciary,
• Public Sector,
• Law Enforcement Agencies (such as the Malawi Police Service and Office of Director of Public Prosecutions),
• the Ombudsman,
• National Audit Office,
• The Anti-Corruption Bureau,
• Political Parties
• Media
• Civil Society Organisations,
• The Private Sector
• Traditional Leaders
Although the launch of this NIS Assessment Report coincides with the “cash gate” crisis that has engulfed the nation, it is important to note that the two are independent of each other. The NIS Assessment was completed well before events surrounding the “cash gate” crisis started unfolding.
However it is obvious that the findings in this assessment may add value to necessary reforms that will need to be undertaken in dealing with the present “cash gate” crisis.
The assessment should also provide a set of good governance benchmarks for the citizens of Malawi to hold their government and elected officials to account.
The launch also comes in the backdrop of news emanating from Capital Hill, Lilongwe, that the government payment system, the now infamous Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) is not yet fully functional. The system was meant to be operational on November 4 2013 but cheques and other payments are still being prepared manually.
Meanwhile, other quarters are increasingly raising questions over Tony Blair’s role as advisor to the president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, as she struggles to overcome the cash gate scandal that has rocked her PP government just months before the May 2014 National elections.
Mr Blair and his charity the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) have been working closely with the Malawian President since August 2012 operating from the same presidential office in which two officials, a principal secretary and an accounting officer, were implicated and arrested in the cash gate scandal.
DfID is also facing criticism over its handling of the cash gate crisis in Malawi.

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