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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

‘ACB key to budget’
09:56:12 - 24 July 2007

SUCCESSFUL implementation of the budget depends on how the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and government auditors seal loopholes in the management of public funds, analysts have said.

The 2007/ 2008 budget, dubbed the best on paper, has channelled a large proportion of funds to pro-poor activities, but Society of Accountants in Malawi (Socam) said the money could be lost to fraudsters.

“Government has a generally good public finance management system. But people to manage the finances must be well trained,” Hennox Mazengera Socam executive director said.

He added that building capacity at the ACB would boost the fight against corruption, saying government has, in the past, lost a large chunk of public funds to fraudsters.

Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe has allocated K470 million to ACB in the current budget up from K200 last year, a development Socam says would intensify the fight against corruption.

Sharing the same view Chancellor College Head of Philosophy Lawrence Mpekansambo said the ACB need to deter would-be fraudsters.

“Government should not sacrifice justice for peace. Let the bureau do what it is mandated to do. The success of the budget depends on that,” he said.

Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) said government should grip official corruption to avoid crippling the budget implementation.

“The problem is that corruption increases the cost of doing business and this is pushed to consumers as they are forced to cushion the results of increased costs,” said Andrew Kumbatila Mejn executive director.

He said the absence of a full director has compromised the conclusion of many cases at the graft busting body.

But Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati said the Mutharika government has performed well in the past three years but blamed some government institutions of failing to localise policies.

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