Government will not condone abuse of public resources, including funds, by public officials in district and city councils and officers indulging in such malpractice would face serious disciplinary action, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa has said.
“We have noted that there is an escalation of abuse of public resources for political activities in most district and city councils. My ministry will not sit back and look at such abuses taking root in our councils.
“Public resources are for the benefit of the local communities in the councils and not for the promotion of some political party or interests,” Nankhumwa said in an interview with Nyasa Times.
He confirmed he had directed the ministry’s PS to issue a circular to all District Commissioners and CEOs of all city councils to warn them that government would strictly enforce the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Local Government Act (LGA), which require that council officers use public resources prudently.
“We must always protect the interests of the taxpayer by ensuring transparency and accountability in the manner council resources are utilized. We have noted with sadness and deep concern that some DCs and CEOs are falling prey to politicians who lure them into providing council resources, including vehicles, for political activities.
“In line with President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s firm stance against corruption, my ministry shall sternly deal with all fraudulent and corrupt council officials. We will not look away when officers abuse and misuse assets such as vehicles or any other equipment to promote their own selfish and political interests,” said Nankhumwa.
The letter, which Nyasa Times has seen, dated March 14, 2018, signed by PS Kenswell Dakamau and addressed to DCs and CEOs and copied to the Chief Secretary to Government and Executive Director, says it has come to the notice of government that some council are “continuing to divert resources such as vehicles, fuel and funds to support political party activities”.
Last week, the High Court of Malawi dismissed an application by the DPP to discharge a case where five civil society organisations (CSOs) dragged the party to court to reimburse K13.5 million solicited from city councils and a water board during the party’s fundraising dinner and dance dubbed Blue Night last July where President Peter Mutharika was the guest of honour