… Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 asked for 45 days to present a report
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament seems to be differing with suggestions that Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe might have also benefitted from the Covid-19 funds when he was leader of opposition in Parliament.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) protested the appointment of the then leader of opposition Lobin Lowe into former President Mutharika’s Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, which replaced the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 in April last year.
Lowe eventually took up the position and was replaced by Kondwani Nankhumwa when his party won the fresh presidential elections.
President Chakwera fired Ken Kandodo from cabinet for pocketing Covid-19 funds but allegedly spared Lowe who also benefitted from the same at the time he was in the task force.
Lowe did not pick up his phone when called. He also exercised his right to remain silent when asked through a WhatsApp questionnaire if he got the allowances or not.
Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Honourable Shadreck Namalomba said in a phone interview that they tasked the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to look into their books and establish how the funds were put to use.
“Even in the case of the Leader of Opposition Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa, it was the Task Force that revealed that he was getting daily subsistence and fuel allowances. We told the Presidential Taskforce to recover allowances it gave to Hon. Nankhumwa,” he said.
Namalomba also said they gave the taskforce 15 days to go back into their books from the days of inception to see how the money was used.
“We know Hon. Lowe was in the committee as Leader of Opposition at the time, but as it is right now, we are not sure if he was getting these allowances or not, we will only know after the said audit,” he said.
Namalomba also explained that they are not targeting any individual but trying to get to the bottom of this matter as the Taskforce will also have to establish what really happened with allowances as captured in the video leak where former cabinet ministers Jappie Mhango and Mark Botomani were discussing sharing allowances.
“As a committee our demand will be that they return this money, but if the Police will take it up as a criminal issue that is not up to us,” he said.
Namalomba said the Presidential Task Force was supposed to present its findings to the committee today (Saturday) but when the co-chairperson came before the committee, he requested for an extension to bring the report after 45 days, which they have been granted.
Nankhumwa, the embattled Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Southern Region, came under fire earlier this year following a revelation that received K3.6 million Covid-19 allowances. He got K1.2 million as daily subsistence allowance and K2.4 million as fuel allowance.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :