President Lazarus Chakwera has dropped Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo from his Cabinet after he took K1.4 million from the ministry’s project account on Covid-19, to use as allowances on a trip to South Africa last year, and the Malawi leader has warned to pursue thieving public officers implicated in the K6.2 billion investigative audit 0n Covid-19.
An audit into the funds showed that Labour Commissioner Hlalerwayo Kelvin Nyangulu pocketed K829 170 while Kandodo got K613 587.47 in allowances while accompanying President Chakwera to South Africa in October 2020.
The money was part of the controversial K6.2 billion Covid-19 fund, whose audit has shown gross abuse.
The two only paid it back on February 24 2021, yet that money was supposed to be used by end of December 2020; repayment was also finalised after an audit on the K6.2 billion had been instructed.
In his televised address from Mtunthama State residence in the capital Lilongwe on Sunday evening, President Chakwera said he has sacked Kandodo as he was named by the audit report as having spent Covid funds amounting to K613 thousand on his allowances for a trip.
“I have dropped him from my Cabinet accordingly. Even though the Minister has since returned the money, his usage of the funds means that the money was unavailable for its intended purpose when it was needed most.
“And I cannot have in my Cabinet any individuals who either spend money budgeted for one thing on something else or do not ask tough questions to ensure that the money they are spending on something was budgeted for that purpose,” said Chakwera.
President Chakwera described anyone who steals or wastes public funds as a traitor.
“As far as I am concerned, anyone who steals or wastes public funds is a traitor to our country,” he said.
Kandodo, who once served as Finance Minister, conceded that that he was “disappointed” for being dropped from Cabinet.
“It’s a total shock,” he said.
The President, a former preacher, said he prays that “God’s curse will rest on anyone who steals even one kwacha of the public funds that God has entrusted us to use in serving Malawians.”
The audit report, among others, has recommended that those officers who took part in the malpractices, which resulted in the loss of funds, should pay back the money and that the government must ensure that all malpractices that are criminal in nature should be handed over to law enforcement agencies for further attention and action.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :