The Malawi Police Service (MPS) on Monday arrested 12 more suspects in relation to abuse of Covid-19 funds , brining the total of those arrested for abuse of Covid-19 funds after the release of the audit report to 31.
In a statement, National Police Spokesperson James Kadadzera said investigations are still ongoing and warned of more arrests.
Kadadzera said: “Malawi Police detectives are still on the ground and more arrests will follow”.
This follows the release of an investigative audit report by the National Audit Office (NAO) – which was ordered by President Lazarus Chakwera amid public outcry – that details how public officers abused relief funds meant for fighting the pandemic.
Findings of the investigative audit into the expenditure of K6.2 billion Covid-19 Response Funds exposed loopholes in public finance management that drained K720 million through procurement flaws, irregular allowances, dubious claims and poor planning.
Key findings of the audit among others, indicate that procurement flaws accounted for the highest cost at K493.9 million.
Speaking in a televised address from Mtunthama State residence in Lilongwe on Sunday evening, the President vowed that government will move to recover all the stolen public funds, interdict all public officers implicated, discipline them and ban any businesses implicated from any futuregovernment contracts.
In the speech, Chakwera said he had directed the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, to interdict without pay those public officers on whose direct watch the financial mismanagement occurred.
“I have also directed him to ensure that those officers are referred to the relevant Service Commissions to either clear their names or be sanctioned and disciplined. Whether those public officers are senior or junior civil servants, I have directed him to see to it that disciplinary proceedings begin within 14 days.”
The President further warned heads of law-enforcement agencies like the Malawi Police Service, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and the Financial Intelligence Authority saying “these institutions must stop letting the country down and do your jobs in bringing those implicated by this report to book, or else I will have you replaced”.