Our nation has been taken backwards many years while our sister countries from within the region and beyond have progressed. We have learnt bitter lessons and bounce back as an economy, we need to move with renewed commitment and zeal to fight corruption in all its forms in all our places. This is the reason why, among the core principles, His Excellency Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, the President of the Republic of Malawi, is advocating that we must be a nation not only of hard working and patriotism but also of high integrity.
In a few days’ time, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) will also be launching a scheme whereby for any payment above a particular threshold, say K5 million, from Government resources, an alert in form of a text message will be sent to the Minister of Finance, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Accountant General and the Budget Director and the respective Minister from which the transaction is being charged, the Principle Secretary in that Ministry, the Head of Finance and all those who need to know about the transaction will be informed by way of their mobile phones so that where the transaction is dubious, immediate corrective measures can be taken.
We live in a changing world. In the past, we were worried with people standing by the roadside at night to steal from us, today thieves have become sophisticated and are in white collar, robbing us in broad day light and often these acts are perpetrated by those we trust and in position. We need to remain vigilant and we need to raise our sophistication even more, so that they do not beat us. This is why the RBM is leading the way in complementing Government efforts and those of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Authority and others to ensure that the RBM is free of corruption in all its staff, premises, processes and systems.
We stand here to declare total war on corruption. The Board of the Reserve Bank of Malawi also recently approved our Fraud and Anti-corruption Policy, which defines the stance of the Bank on fraud and corruption. The Policy reinforces existing systems, policies and procedures, rules and regulations of the Bank towards the fight against fraud and corruption. It aims at deterring, preventing, detecting, reacting to and reducing the likelihood of fraud and corruption. The Policy confirms the Bank’s commitment to a culture of zero tolerance to fraud and corruption in all its forms within and outside the Bank. Our Motto speaks for itself, “Not in the Reserve Bank of Malawi.”
The Tip-Offs Anonymous is one of the measures of curbing corruption within the Bank. With the Tip-Offs Anonymous, you can report malpractices and still remain anonymous which has proven a success with other public institutions. I am sure that this whistle-blower hotline creates a better alternative for members of staff and the general public to report any unethical behaviours.
I am aware that misguided persons may want to misuse the system to the detriment of others. Let me be clear here that each and every reported item would be thoroughly investigated and scrutinised before arriving at a conclusion.
This programme has to be used by all stakeholders who deal with the Bank including the general public if we are to win the war against fraud and corruption. We would like the general public to report on many issues including;
a. Production of counterfeit currency;
b. Illegal externalisation of currency;
c. Operation of unlicensed financial institutions;
d. Fraud and mismanagement;
e. Corrupt practices;
f. Abuse of office and office facilities;
g. Procurement related malpractices.
It is therefore, against this background that the Bank decided to subscribe to Tip-Offs Anonymous as a mechanism for early detection and a deterrent against fraud, corruption and any unethical concerns the Bank may encounter. I am pleased to note that the programme has already started producing fruits and it is expected that with this launch, more reports will be received. It is imperative that we should, indeed, be adequately familiar with the reporting procedures like the Toll Free hotline, the postal address, emails and the website as they have to become part of our daily operations in reporting any malpractices observed.
This programme is the safe way to report any malpractices and remain anonymous and also get rewarded for the good tip made. Please inform as many as you can so that together we can root out the evil among us. I need to reiterate that we are serious as our motto states “Not in the Reserve Bank of Malawi.”
By Dalitso Kabambe,
Governor, Reserve Bank of Malawi