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Malawi promises forensic audit as donors freeze funds

16 January 2014, 20:40

Blantyre - Malawi President Joyce Banda, under pressure from foreign aid donors and facing a tough re-election battle, on Wednesday promised a forensic audit of suspected government corruption over the last decade.

Banda said the audit, backed by Britain and the European Union, would help reveal the extent of corruption in the southern African state.

"The forensic audit will be backdated to 2005... we need to know where we are coming from so that we can forgive each other," said Banda.

"It's not war."

The probe was prompted by the unveiling of a massive corruption scandal last year, implicating top government officials.

As a result Banda sacked her entire cabinet, jettisoning top ministers and 30 civil servants and politicians from Banda's ruling party will go on trial in February.

But not before donors pulled vital funding.

Last year the European Union said it would not release €29m in scheduled financing to the aid-dependent nation until the government deal with the fraud.

Banda, who became president in 2012 once said about 30% of the country's resources were plundered or lost to fraud.

Last week she admitted that she took a "political risk" in launching a major fight against corruption ahead of elections on 20 May.

The probe is expected to take about six months to conclude.



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