Rights activists, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is calling for a complete overhaul of the civil service following the plunder of K6.2 billion Covid-19 money by some civil servants.
HRDC says there should be a complete overhaul of the civil service, investigation of all companies involved in unlawful activities, strengthening procurement systems and placing of a legal response to deter the acts.
They further demand that all money lost should be paid back and senior controlling officers including those in Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Capital Hill and in councils to be reprimanded.
In a statement read during a news conference in Lilongwe, the HRDC has given the government seven days for all suspected culprits to be arrested failing which the human rights group will mobilise Malawians to go on the streets on April 29 this year.
“As HRDC, we will not rest until our demands are met,” warned the organisation’s national coordinator Luke Tembo .
Hesaid an audit report by the National Audit Office (NAO) on the embattled Covid funds shows that OPC handpicked a private firm, Pest Chem 1B at a cost of K97 million to fumigate government buildings although the Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) could have done the job at a much lower price.
Leaders of the coalition also insist the government must put in place a recovery plan for the plundered money or demonstrations will be held on April 29.
Meanwhile, critics are imploring the government to act swiftly on recommendations made in the recently released report on the usage and accountability of the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds.
The audit report has established that a large sum of the funds have been lost to irregular procurement processes.
The audit which was ordered by President Lazarus Chakwera was conducted by the National Audit Office (NAO).
According to the NAO, funds were largely misappropriated through flouted procurement processes, unjustifiable allowances, fuel, with other sums being unaccounted for.
For instance over K493.9 million accounts for expenditure flaws in procurement, over K80 million for allowance irregularities, over K83 Million was on irregular cash transfers out of which K12 million went missing.
The development comes against concerns of inadequate funding and support for hospitals in the fight against Covid 19 during the time the funds were being plundered.
Among the recommendations, the NAO advises that officers who took part in the malpractice pay back the money and that the malpractices that are criminal in nature be handed over to law enforcement agencies.
Reacting to the revelations, political analyst George Phiri hints that President Chakwera’s next move will determine his administration’s stance on dealing with corruption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :