President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday took a strong stance against maladministration of fund on the Covid-19 pandemic fight, firing Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Commissioner James Chiusiwa, appointing new co-chair of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 and suspending all cluster heads.
This follows reports that K6.2 billion has been abused by some officials.
“As you recall last week, I gave the heads of clusters 48 hours to appear before the taskforce. Today I can report before you without fear or favour that many clusters were poorly led. All clusters except one brought reports with evidence and had to be told to resubmit the reports. They showed negligence,” said Chakwera.
The President announced that all Cluster heads have been suspended immediately pending full forensic audit and full independent investigation by police.
He also said Dodma Commissioner James Chiusiwa has also been fired and that he will appoint the new Commissioner.
Co-Chairperson of the Taskforce John Phuka has also been relieved of his responsibility and replaced by Chalamira Nkhoma as the new co-chair.
President Chakwera also said representatives of civil society organisations, Malawi Human Rights Commission and graft-busting body Anti-Corruption Bureau will be added to the Taskforce and clusters to ensure that there is accountability.
“I have made these decisions to address accountability lapses at the helm of all clusters, at the helm of DODMA, and at the helm of the Covid-19 Taskforce. However,
there remains the need to address alleged elements of criminal conduct by those who abused or misappropriated funds,” said Chakwera.
He disclosed that there will be a full forensic audit on the Covid-19 funds which
the National Audit Office has already begun, and a full and independent investigation, which the Director of Public Prosecutions has requested the Malawi Police
Service to conduct as a matter of urgency.
Chakwera also said says audit and criminal investigation will be done independently.
“As enshrined in the Constitution, these are matters for independent law enforcement agents and forensic auditors, who will do their work independently to pin down the culprit,” said the President.
He said those found to have committed crimes will be met with full arm of the law.
“Whether the independent audit and police investigation find the culprits of fraud, abuse, and misappropriation to be individuals at District Councils, or at DODMA, or at District Health Offices, they will be prosecuted accordingly, and I trust our independent Judiciary will do its part to mete out justice,” said Chakwera.
According to the President, the K6.2 billion was used as follows: K60 million on planning meetings; K535 million facilitating the return of Malawians from South Africa; K185 million on public awareness on media platforms; K580 million on border patrols (and) K72 million to support victims of gender-based violence during the pandemic with materials and cash transfers.
Dodma’s failure to account for the resources through giving Malawians a detailed account on how they have spent the resources have attracted wrath of citizens.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :