President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has attributed the economic downturn being experienced now to the plunder of public funds dubbed cashgate which happened during the reign of former President Dr. Joyce Banda.

Mutharika said this in an interview with BBC’s Hard Talk programme aired on Monday hosted by Zeinab Badawi.

In the interview, Badawi asked President Mutharika to explain why the country is rated as the poorest nation despite being a peaceful nation.

In his reaction, Mutharika said corruption is the main challenge that is delaying progress of the nation in terms of development activities.

Mutharika said when he was ascending to the high office on May 20, 2014, he found nothing in government coffers, saying People’s Party officials headed by Banda stole the tax-payers money.

While interrupting Mutharika, Badawi reminded Mutharika that Banda is not implicated in the scam and that cashgate started during the first reign of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) under his later brother Bingu wa Mutharika where he was a Cabinet Minister.

Mutharika while shunning the question said “Corruption has been there for decades. There will always be corruption in a society.”

The President said his government is doing whatever it can to make sure that corruption is routed out in the country and he appealed for change of mindset among Malawians.

“Malawi needs about 5 years to be self-sufficient, to gradually change from an importing to an exporting nation. But in the meantime, we do need assistance during this crisis period,” he said.

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