By: Thula Chisamba
As another way of exerting a pull on donor aid, the Malawi government has guaranteed to track and punish a community of thieves within the civil service.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Malawi Star on Monday, Ministry of Finance publicist, Nations Msowoya acknowledged that public looting is ruinous to the country’s economy.
“With such malpractices, our country can’t progress. In fact, stealing taxpayers’ money is being unpatriotic,” he said.
This publication recently reported the public looting saga in which about 138 public servants allegedly siphoned taxpayers’ money.
Official records confirmed that the said servants withdrew huge sums of money allocated for various government operations.
“About 63 of the culprits were working under the Ministry of Health whilst other 75 were under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Some of them used fuel allocations funds and others swindled other employee’s allowances,” reads part of the document.
Against this background, Msowoya emphasized that government is armed-to-the-teeth in a war against this malpractice.
“The exposure of those public servants is a clear sign that government is working round the clock in a war against public looting. And for your information, investigations on that fraud are underway,” he added.
Nonetheless, some social and economic commentators have blamed the unending public prowling on lenient punishment awarded to culprits.
A Mzuzu based economist cum business tycoon Moses Salamba prefigured a persistence in the public swindling because current penalties are not deterring the aspiring offenders.
“The problem is that these thieves find refuge in lenient punishments they get after plundering taxpayers’ money thus they can’t stop stealing,” fumed Salamba.
“Some will be jailed while others will be fired without mercy so that public service remains fraud-free,” said Msowoya.
However, Msowoya while conceding to the observation announced that government has adopted a strategy and very tough punishments in a bid to reduce the malpractice.