The Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources says it is committed to helping Malawi achieve development goals, and in order to reach these goals, Malawians must address corruption, everywhere and at all levels.
The Ministry says it appreciates the work of the investigative journalist, the Weekend Nation newspaper and more broadly the media to help identify and document corruption, saying it is looking forward to opportunities to engage more broadly with the media to improve the accountability and transparency of the Ministry.
Giving updates on the charcoal corruption case exposed by investigative journalist, Bobby Kabango, Minister responsible, Hon. Nancy Tembo, said her Ministry has engaged the Anti–Corruption Bureau [ACB] to investigate each of the charges of corruption identified.
Tembo said the Director of Forestry and the entire Ministry management take these accusations very seriously, and will fully support the investigation in any way deemed appropriate by the ACB.
She said following the release of the article in the Weekend Nation newspaper, the Director of Forestry has already engaged the journalist and the editor to request information on staff accused of corruption.
…….”We remain ready to discipline all accused officers, once their identity become known,’’…..reads part of the minister’s response.
Meanwhile, the joint Civil Society says the issues highlighted in the report are just a tip of the iceberg, saying they are however, surprised by the responses from the authorities which are in the article as they do not inspire hope for the country’s drive against forest degradation.
In a statement released dated 6th February 2021, the organizations are demanding the police, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services and Malawi Revenue Authority [MRA] to issue a statement on how the agencies will curb illegal charcoal trafficking in the short, medium and long term.
The organizations: CEPA, CARD,SDI, CURE, NYNCC, Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust, Movement for Environmental Action and AEJ, are demanding the listed heads of the agencies whose officers were involved in the corruption case to urgently investigate and punish the offenders as reported in the Weekend Nation story of 30th January, 2021.
The statement is also demanding the Ministry of Civic Education and the media to embark on creating awareness about the benefits of gas and clear misconceptions associated with gas.
By Vincent Gunde