In a bid to crack down on corruption that has seen donors withdraw support, Malawi has fired 68 civil servants for embezzling $2 million (1.71 million euros) in public funds, an official said Thursday.
Employees at the agricultural ministry have been accused of running a scheme of inflated salaries or payments for non-existent 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 spokesman, 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 civil servants earn an average of about $100 (85 euros) 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 around $150 million after it was revealed that at least $30 million was stolen over one six-month period scrutinised by auditors.
Scores of civil servants, politicians and business people implicated in “Cashgate” are facing criminal charges, though only four have been convicted.