BLANTYRE, Sept 25: President APM has made a passionate plea to donors to resume aid despite the ills of Cashgate which led development partners to dry the taps of budget support worth $150 million last year.
“We have done everything that a responsible government should do and we have the hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mutharika was quoted as telling reporters after meeting with European Union (EU) diplomats on the sides of the UN general assembly in the USA.
Mutharika said Malawi had made its case, saying his administration “only inherited” the Cashgate problem and “we should not be punished as if we are the ones who caused it.”
He was referring to former president Joyce Banda, whom he defeated in May this year after leading the poor nation for two years following the sudden death of APM’s sibling Bingu.
Cashgate, in which billions of kwachas were looted from the public pulse by civil servants in concert with businesspeople and politicians, was discovered last year following the shooting of budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Banda had often insisted that Mphwiyo was shot because he was about to unveil the Cashgate and had denied being involved in the historic theft of public funds.
Angry with the looting, donors, who include the EU, pulled the aid plug until Lilongwe “cleans the mess” and public trust is restored. Adris Piebalgs, the EU commissioner for development, is reported to have told Mutharika that the EU was keen to resume aid to Malawi it resolved “critical issues of concern.”
The EU diplomat said that during the meeting with APM, Cashgate and the resumption of aid were tabled, saying “as EU we want to return to Malawi with budgetary support and we hope to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.”
The British have described Cashgate as a “leaking bucket” are also determined not to release support until the mess is sorted out. London bankrolls programs such as buying of drugs directly to individual ministries and not through Capital Hill.–Maravipost