Written by RAPHAEL TENTHANI
BLANTYRE (MaraviPost) _ Unidentified gunmen Friday night shot and severely wounded a senior Malawi government official who is on a corruption-busting
A statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet, released Sunday, said Paul Mphwiyo, Budget Director in the Ministry of Finance, was shot three
times as he was driving into his compound.
"Mr. Mphwiyo was severely wounded from the shooting and was evacuated by government and is presently in hospital in South Africa in a critical but stable
condition," reads the statement.
Police spokesman Kingsley Dandaula said the 37-year-old technocrat was shot in the face, shoulder and chest.
"We are still investigating the matter but we are yet to establish the motive of the shooting," he said. "No arrests have been made yet."
Soon after his appointment by President Joyce Banda, the youthful US-trained technocrat has overhauled Malawi's porous finance systems that left a lot of
loopholes for corrupt government officials and businessmen to siphon out money. He has cancelled several dubious contracts with government worth millions of
dollars, a development that left him unpopular among other government officials and their business associates.
Prior to his shooting Mphwiyo confided to friends and family that he was receiving anonymous phone calls warning him that he was 'marked'.
"He had told us that he was receiving death threats but he never thought it was serious," Nation of Sunday quoted one of his associates as saying. "He
believed it was just some disgruntled people who thought he was spoiling their business deals, that is, fraudulent government contracts and closing out
The statement from the presidency also alluded to the fact that Mphwiyo was targeted for cleaning up the government finance systems.
"The government wishes to notify the public that it strongly believes that Mr Mphwiyo’s shooting was not just any other robbery but a planned and targeted
attack aimed at silencing him and the Government in the fight against high levels of corruption and fraud," reads the statement, adding:
"The President and the government therefore wish to assure all Malawians that the fight against corruption and organised fraud in government, which had
become entrenched in the past years, will in no way be deterred by this shooting but it will be sustained to ensure that these evils are rooted out of the
Government and the nation at large."
Corruption is endemic in Malawi government finance systems so much that former Director of Public Prosecution Fahad Assani is on record as saying over 30 per
cent of the national budget is lost through corruption. Former president Bakili Muluzi set up the Anti-Corruption Bureau to fight graft.
Muluzi himself and several former government officials are currently in court answering several corruption cases. Over US $100 million was said to have been
lost through corruption during the ten years Muluzi was in power.
The Banda administration has also just announced that former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April last year from cardiac arrest complications,
dubiously amassed a net wealth of 60 billion Malawi kwacha (about US $174m) during the seven years he has been in power.