News / Africa

    Malawi: Donors Withhold Aid Over Cashgate Scandal

    FILE - Malawi President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
    FILE - Malawi President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
    Lameck Masina
    Several donor nations are withholding aid to Malawi in reaction to a growing scandal over government graft known as Cashgate. The latest to announce the delay of funding are donors under the Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS) who are meeting in the capital, Lilongwe. Government authorities say this is likely to pose economic problems in a country where 40 percent of its national budget comes from donor aid.

    Announcing the move during its first review meeting of the 2013-2014 budget on Thursday, the funding group said it has decided to delay its aid to Malawi after its loss of confidence in the government’s financial system.  The so-called Cashgate scandal has thus far resulted in the looting of more than $250 million from government coffers.

    Sarah Sanyahumbi is co-chair of the CABS group and head of Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi.

    “It is clear from what we already know, even though investigations are ongoing, that there are serious weaknesses in the government’s financial systems which allowed [what] we call Cashgate to actually happen. So we have seen serious weaknesses which have enabled people to take money out of the government system. While that is the case, you know the donors cannot responsibly continue to put money into government systems. So at the moment, while the investigations are going on, we have delayed any funding which was planned to go into the government system," said Sanyahumbi.

    The decision comes a few days after the European Union and DFID withheld their funding to Malawi until authorities come to the root of the financial looting. Norway has completely suspended its funding to Malawi because of the problem.
     
    Sanyahumbi, however, believes not all is lost.

    “[But] that doesn’t mean that all development support to Malawi has stopped. It’s budget support and sector budget support [that has been affected]. So all other programs or projects like in health, education, food security, etc. etc. are still ongoing," she said.

    But Finance Minister Maxwell Mkwezalamba pleaded for mercy from donors, saying the suspension of budget support for Malawi spells doom for the country.
     
    “We are concerned with the decision to delay this disbursement. The impact on the economy on Malawi people will not be good. When you look at what we were expecting for this quarter alone, we were looking at $150 million, and if it doesn’t come, which is likely to [because of] the case, this means we have to have another look at our budget framework," said Mkwezalamba.

    He assured donors that the government has an action plan that will help get to the root of the issue and bring to justice the culprits in the looting.

    But Sanyahumbi said there is no turning back because the “line” already has been crossed.

    “Really, we expect significant commitment to action to be taken. We are talking about an extraordinary path. This is not business as usual. As far as we are concerned, the line has been crossed, so once the line has been crossed you cannot go back to what you had before," she said.

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team is in the country on a make-or-break mission to gather information on the Cashgate scandal.

    Its weeklong fact-finding efforts will determine Malawi's fate on whether the IMF will further disburse its $20 million under the Extended Credit Facility.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.