Ministry of Information Deputy Director arrested over Covid-19 funds

“If the finger of evidence points at you, you are going to jail.”

Police in Lilongwe this week arrested yet another top official at Ministry of Information suspected to be involved in abuse and mismanagement of K6.2 billion Covid-19 response funds.

Deputy Director for Publications, Edson Mwamvani was apprehended on Wednesday in the capital for his alleged complicity in abuse of the money set aside by the government to help in the fight against the ravaging coronavirus global pandemic.

The Police have confirmed the arrest saying the officer was picked this week but they were coy to divulge more information on the matter saying “investigations are still underway” and that more arrests are likely to follow.

“Sacred cow? Chakwera with Info Director Mtumodzi

Police had earlier arrested former Information Director Mzati Nkolokosa and Deputy Director Deogratus Mmana and other officials from the Ministry on the same issue are still under lock and key in remand.

Nyasa Times understands that the Mwamvani like all K6.2 billion plunder suspects will face charges of; theft by public servant, conspiracy to commit a felony, making a false document and contravening the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act.

The arrest comes at a time when Nyasa Times reported that current Director of information Chikumbutso Mtumodzi is being shielded by President Chakwera as he has been earmarked for a top State House job.

According to a forensic audit report on the management of the K6.2 million Covid funds, Mtumodzi is named to have drawn fuel amounting to K600, 000 through cheque number 000916 on 3rd December 2020 from Petroda Malawi Limited through Invoice number 199393 which was not accounted for and was also not recorded in both fuel and vehicle register books of the Ministry of Information.

Mtumodzi also on the same day drew another cheque amounting to K550, 000 through cheque number 000919, invoice number199394 under the disguise of ‘Covid-19 communication messages and development of new Covid-19 messages’. This too was not recorded in the official books and could not be accounted for.

The Police have promised more arrests are to be made in connection with the alleged abuse of Covid-19 funds.

The police are tracing people who allegedly abused the Covid-19 funds, after an audit report ordered by President Lazarus Chakwera revealed that government officers and the private sector had misspent about $1.3 million of the funds through procurement and allowances irregularities.

Information minister Gospel Kazako in an interview Friday said: “The police are just doing their job and that is arresting all those suspected to have abused or mismanaged public resources.”

“The Tonse Alliance administration is not going to protect anyone who was or involved in criminal activities. As President Chakwera said and I quote; “If the finger of evidence points at you, you are going to jail.”

Police have so far arrested over 80 people in connection with the K6.2 billion Covid-19 response funds.

Recently, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera surprised the nation by firing Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo after an investigative audit of Covid-19 funds spending found that the minister improperly used nearly 614,000 Malawian kwacha ($780) as an allowance for a foreign trip to the Republic of South Africa.

The K6.2 billion audit — a part of the commitment, which the Malawi government made when seeking financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — looked into how the money set aside to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic disbursed by the government in 2020 was used.

Last year the government of Malawi received $91 million from IMF under the Rapid Credit Facility to help to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Carried out after Social media influencer and journalist, Idriss Ali Nassah had asked the report to be made public under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) amid public outcry over allegations of misuse of COVID-19 funds, which health experts said was crippling the country’s pandemic response, the audit report revealed unprocedural procurement, irregular allowances, improper accounting, and wasteful expenditure without any appropriate budgets.

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The Patriot
The Patriot
1 year ago

The finger is pointing at Mtumodzu koma nothing is happening. It seems the arrest are following a certain pattern. Shame.

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