Rustenburg – The extradition of self-proclaimed Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri, who is accused of money laundering in South Africa, is a test of Malawi’s commitment to anti-corruption, said Transparency International.
According to Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released last week, Malawi scored 30, dropping by seven points since 2012.
The global anti-corruption body said a recent government audit revealed public sector corruption of astronomical proportions, with an estimated $1 billion (R15bn) allegedly stolen by the previous government.
“In addition, the extradition of a high-profile Malawian pastor accused of money laundering in South Africa may be another test of the country’s commitment to anti-corruption,” its report read.
The charismatics preacher and his wife, Mary, are wanted in South Africa on fraud and money-laundering charges related to an investment scheme valued at about R104 million.
Malawi is known for the 2013 cash-gate scandal involving high levels of public sector corruption and misappropriation of funds and the country continues to grapple with corruption.
According to media reports, the scandal involved a computer-based financial information storage system, where government officials allegedly exploited a loophole in the system to divert millions from government coffers. It was estimated that up to $250 million (R3.75bn) was lost through alleged fraudulent payments to businessmen for services not rendered.
Transparency International also flagged Zambia as showing a significant decline on the CPI, dropping five points since 2013 to score 33. The anti-corruption body stated in its 2019 report that nearly one in five Zambian citizens paid bribes to receive services such as health care or education.
The country allegedly awarded a $17 million (R255m) contract for the supply of health centre kits to a company which did not exist at the time of the contract. According to Zambian media reports, the contract was signed on November 22, 2019.
African News Agency (ANA)