Employees of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) yesterday complained about lack of resources, forcing some of their colleagues to carry sensitive investigation files on public transport.
The staff expressed their frustrations yesterday when British High Commissioner Michael Nevin visited the graft-busting body’s regional offices in Blantyre.
During the tour, Nevin was told different stories about problems they encounter in the course of their duties, most of them disturbing.
On their part, ACB investigators told Nevin, whose government has funded some of the Bureau’s functions, that much as they are willing to fight corruption, financial challenges are frustrating them.
One investigator narrated an incident that happened last week where they used public transport to travel to Lilongwe to carry out an investigation.
“We were investigating a case which needed us to travel to Capital Hill in Lilongwe. But our vehicle had no fuel and we had to jump on public transport carrying sensitive files. This was not only worrisome, but frightening if one looks at the nature of our work,” the investigator told Nevin.
Another employee revealed that when he went to Lilongwe on public transport, he hoped to find transport at ACB in Lilongwe, but hit a snag.
ACB director general Lucas Kondowe, who was with the High Commissioner during the tour, attributed the problem to the difficulties the institution faces in sourcing funding at the Blantyre Treasury office.
He said that in the past, when most of the funding (about 80 percent) came from donors, the bureau had no problem with funding, but now things are tough.
Asked whether the British government would consider providing more funding to the ACB as was the case in the past, Nevin said it is the duty of the Malawi Government to make sure that the ACB operates smoothly.
He said: “However, the British government continues to support the ACB in many ways. What is needed is a collective approach by the public, including the media.”
ACB is one of the key institutions investigating and prosecuting Cashgate where K24 billion in public money was stolen between April and September 2013 according to a forensic audit by British firm Baker Tilly. A number of people have so far been prosecuted.
In the 2014/15 National Budget, ACB received K1.4 billion against its proposed K3.6 billion budget.