Ombudsman calls for public submissions for local councils’ probe

The country’s Ombudsman Martha Chizuma has called on Malawians to bring forward any information that might aid her office’s investigation into local government councils following reports of alleged abuse of public funds.

Ombudsman Martha Chizuma: This investigation is about handling of citizens’ money by the councils

Chizuma made the appeal in an interview.

She said calling for submissions from members of the public is one crucial step in ensuring that the investigation achieves its ultimate objectives, therefore the need for public cooperation.

“This investigation is about handling of citizens’ money by the councils. As such, if any member of the citizenry has information that they know will help with this investigation, they must come forward using all the available platforms, and we promise utmost confidentiality,” Chizuma said.

Chizuma further clarified that in addition to public submissions, her office would take all necessary steps to ensure matters are investigated fully and effectively.

“We have already started interacting with some local council. We will also look into all the necessary documentation.

“We will then visit the sites of the alleged projects to verify all the allegations we will have received during the submissions. Then our findings will determine the next course of action,” said Chizuma.

Commenting on the investigation, Ministry of Local Government Public Relations Officer, Muhlabase Mughogho said the Office of the Ombudsman is fulfilling its constitutional mandate of providing government with checks and balances.

“The Ombudsman’s probe into alleged abuse of public funds by the councils is a normal constitutional obligation. Government has many checks and balances mechanisms and the Ombudsman is just one of them,” Mughogho said.

She further said her ministry will provide the local councils with policy guidelines to assist them, as is always the case in such cases.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana said investigation into local councils is a welcome development, saying his organisation is ready to collaborate with the Office of the Ombudsman to ensure an effective investigation.

“This is a welcome development, especially considering the rampant reports of alleged abuse of public funds by local government councils. As an organisation that has projects that track local government accountability to promote efficiency, we are ready to provide the necessary information generated from our projects,” Chibwana said.

The Office of the Ombudsman instituted a probe into local government councils following numerous complaints that the office received during Ombudsman Clinics they conducted across the country.

Some of the complaints included reports of uncompleted classroom blocks and hospital structures and substandard roads among others.

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Khima

Oumbudsman bodzatu ili every annual audit report comes with issues na papita nkhani zakuma Local Council…put up self checking processes osati we deal ndi zinthu anthu atanyopola kale ndalama