World Customs Organisation pledges to support MRA in collective action against corruption

Maravi Express

World Customs Organisation (WCO) has commended the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) for promoting integrity as a corporate priority following Commissioner General, John Biziwick’s drive to re-energize and embed integrity within the tax collecting body.

A statement from MRA says this follows a virtual meeting that WCO representatives had with Biziwick on September 7, 2020 to discuss the organization’s Anti-Corruption and Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) programme for customs.

The WCO then published an article on its website, saying MRA’s A-CIP programme is timely in efforts to re-energize and embed integrity within its structures.

WCO said the virtual discussion with Biziwick focused on entrenching all initiatives in the fight against corruption and promotion of integrity within the corporate strategy.

The virtual conference also focused on linking such initiatives, including those under the WCO A-CIP Programme, to performance indicators in order to ensure words are converted into concrete actions.

MRA’s Msonkho House

The Commissioner General assured the WCO that “not only the performance of Internal Affairs Division must be measured against integrity indicators but the contribution of all areas having an impact on integrity must be assessed as well”.

The commendation from WCO, which was established in 1952 as an independent intergovernmental body with mission to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administration, comes barely a few weeks after Biziwick issued an administrative notice to all MRA members in which he demanded staff to maintain high levels of integrity.

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“I wish to remind staff that we will not tolerate corruption and unethical behavior,” Biziwick said in the administrative notice.

“Lack of integrity costs money and time — damages the reputation of a tax administration and undermines the trust and respect of taxpayers.

“It is, therefore, important that integrity must indeed be our core value in practice and part our of organization culture,” Biziwick said.

The Commissioner General announced some new initiatives that would ensure that MRA is a corrupt-free tax administration such as the re-introduction of Whistle Blower programme — Tip-Offs Anonymous Scheme — for staff and providing sufficient resources to the Internal Affairs Division within MRA.

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MRA’s Internal Affairs Division is an investigation department with special responsibility of upholding staff integrity and enhancing employees’ total adherence to accepted corporate ethical values.

WCO, which MRA joined in 1966, represents 183 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.

Launched in January 2019, the A-CIP Programme aims at improving the business environment for cross-border trade in selected WCO member countries by making changes to the operational and administrative context that restricts corrupt behavior and promotes good governance in customs operations and administration.

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