Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Vincent Nundwe has dismissed allegations that he has been interdicted over allegations of abuse of Covid-19 funds, saying he does not head any cluster and that MDF has not misappropriated any funds.
In his address on February 14 2021, Chakwera directed that all cluster heads be suspended for failing to maintain proper records of Ccovid-19 funds were used and others for defying his directive to submit reports weekly to his office.
Nundwe said interdictions do not affect MDF.
“The K85 million we got out of K6.2 billion is still intact as it was given to us in November. So, we have sought permission to use these funds alongside the K100 million which has just been allocated to us,” said Nundwe.
Nundwe has also trashed allegations circulating on social media that he used part of the Covid-19 funds to finish constructing his lodge, saying construction of the lodge in the question was completed in 2018 before the advent of Covid.
Meanwhile, press reports indicate that MDF requested K272 million for providing security at Bingu Field Hospital at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe for three months. The MDF security bill is more than the K199 million allocated to Mzuzu Central Hospital for the Covid-19 response.
A letter from MDF dated February 4 2021 and referenced OPS & TRG/A/125/1 signed by Lieutenant Colonel Mlotha on behalf of MDF Commander acknowledged receipt of K85 million but that the money was not spent “due to the commitment MDF had for the rotation of its troops who were deployed in DRC for UN peace keeping operations from December 1 2020 until January 21 2021”.
MDF also says it had diverted K100 million meant for border patrols and other internal Covid-19 response activities to BNS field hospital.
Reads the letter: “For reminder and your information, MDF estimates towards BNS Covid is K272 000 000 for a period of three months; hence, the K100 000 000 is part of the budget which covers only for one month. This gives a shortfall of K172 000 000…”
In the letter, MDF confirms that its main response activity is safeguarding BNS and supporting Ministry of Health (MoH) for smooth running of the field hospital.
Health rights activist Maziko Matemba has since bemoaned the wastage, saying prudent investment of the same funds could have transformed the health sector.
“The field hospitals are temporary. We should have used resources to strengthen our health care system with proper infrastructure that would help us contain Covid-19 which is still around for some time and other health issues,” he said in quotes reported by The Nation.
President Chakwera has ordered a forensic audit of the K6.2 billion amid public fears that the funds disbursed in August 2020 were abused and has said it is time to root out the problem of waste, abuse and theft of public resources.
“We must admit that these are behaviours that have poisoned our values as a nation and have corroded our entire government system,” the President said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :