Written by DAILY TIMES
Germany has warned Malawi government officials against blaming the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) over the looting of billions of kwachas by officials working at Capital Hill, the seat of the government.
Speaking on the sidelines of celebrations for Germany’s Unity Day in Lilongwe Ambassador Peter Woeste said it is wrong to be blaming an IT system for the fraud that is taking place at Capital Hill.
“Thanks to the IT-System used – IFMIS – we seem to be able to trace who and where people took money. So please: Do not blame a computer for corruption – that would be a distraction from the real issue. It’s some criminal elements who are committing fraud,” said Woeste.
He warned his country is closely watching events adding continued support will depend on “results of government actions”.
“We are not here to give positive or negative remarks. This is something Malawians themselves will have to be encouraged to do and decide. Next year, there are elections for you to decide what is the way going forward, and don’t look all the time to donors, be Malawian.
“What I stressed in my statement is that the results [of the investigations] will decide whether and how we can continue or not; this is some kind of a result based financing support, if the results are good; we can continue, if the results are not good, we can move to something else, It is in Malawi’s hands to produce results for my government back home to continue,” said Woeste in an interview.
“We have a responsibility; our taxpayer money is hard earned money,” added the ambassador, “the population of Iceland is similar to Karonga but they (Iceland) are still supporting Malawi; you need a good argument to say the money is being put to good use.”
Speaking earlier, Woeste said Malawi could learn from German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s austerity drive and general respect for financial prudence.
“She is a witty person with a tremendous knowledge of details. And she is pretty modest. It is obvious that pomp doesn’t interest her,” said Woeste adding;
“We have to justify every penny, every cent and every tambala. We do not accept corruption. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance whoever you are and whatever your position is. There must not be any sacred cows,” he said.
He said Germany was convinced that cracking down on those who stole government money will not be difficult.
Speaking at the same function, Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Chiume commended the support Germany continues to render to the country, citing among others, the support to the Social Cash TransferProgramme.
He said Malawi was committed to fighting corruption but stressed that the malpractice has been going on for years citing examples of corruption revelations and admission of its existence by previous administrations.