Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Blantyre — Malawi has fired 68 public servants for embezzling $2m in public funds, an official said Thursday, as the country tries to crack down on corruption that has resulted in donors withdrawing support.

Employees at the agricultural ministry have been accused of running a scheme of inflated salaries or payments for nonexistent workers between 2012 and 2014.

"Sixty-eight officers have been dismissed and their cases referred to the attorney-general for prosecution," Osborne Tsoka, the ministry’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

A probe showed most of the money was stolen by accounts personnel at the ministry’s headquarters in Lilongwe and at research stations.

Malawi’s 180,000 public servants earn an average of about $100 a month, and corruption is widespread in the public sector.

In 2013, several high-ranking officials were implicated in the "cashgate" scandal, when millions of dollars were stolen from government coffers.

International donors pulled the plug on aid of about $150m after it was disclosed that at least $30m was stolen over one six-month period scrutinised by auditors.

Scores of public servants, politicians and business people implicated in "cashgate" are facing criminal charges, though only four have been convicted.

AFP

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