Investigators and prosecutors from the Malawi Police Service (MPS) have gained vital skills in financial investigations and asset recovery during a five-day intensive Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery training programme.

This is the first time our ICAR Training Team has been able to deliver in-person training since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ability to forge personal relationships and network with counterparts from other professions and agencies was somewhat lost during the pandemic restrictions. But the latest International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) training programme delivered in Malawi was a strong reminder of just how important this personal networking is in the fight against corruption.

This report offers an initial insight into the problem of gendered corruption, including sextortion and so-called double bribery, based on interviews with 19 businesswomen in Malawi. Part of a wider research project into procurement corruption, the interviews aimed to explore the extent of gendered corruption as a coercive form of social exchange, as well as the role of informal corrupt networks in magnifying gender-specific inequalities.

Congratulations to Malawi on achieving the first ever non-conviction based forfeiture order under the new Financial Crimes Act of 2017. We are delighted to have been able to support our partners in Malawi's Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Financial Intelligence Authority and Malawi Police Service in this precedent-setting case.

As we have all become painfully aware, our lives can be brutally disrupted by animal-borne viruses like covid-19 that can sicken and kill people and devastate the global economy – in only seven months. We also know that the current pandemic is only the latest in a series of such wildlife-related diseases that are occurring more frequently and becoming more deadly.

The success of the Construction Transparency Initiative (CoST) in Malawi shows the impact Collective Action can have on addressing corruption and levelling the playing field even in difficult environments. But it needs perseverance, leadership and systematic efforts to drive policy change, as our interview below with Joe Chingani, Chairperson of CoST Malawi, demonstrates. First, some background.

Amid the current buzz around virtual training, it's good to be reminded that effective capacity building is about a lot more than just learning new skills. Some of the most important aspects of our International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) workshops can't easily be transferred to cyberspace.

Journalist Bertram Hill of the BBC Africa Eye Investigative Team joined media consultant Ladan Cher in March 2020 to lead an intensive open-source intelligence workshop for 13 of Malawi’s leading investigative journalists.

During the four-day workshop, the participants explored the many possibilities of open-source intelligence gathering, including: