UK keen on Malawi Covid funds audit: Britain had given K5.3bn aid for Covid-19 response

UK government is keen to see the audit of how the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) in the Office of President and Cabinet has used K6.2 billion Covid-19 response funds from Treasury as Britain had given an additional £6 million (approx. MWK 5.3 Billion) for scaling up the country’s virus preparedness and response.

UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, during his visit to a warehouse facility for COVID-19 supplies in Kanengo, Lilongwe, which is managed by UNICEF Malawi.

President Lazarus Chakwera said the K6.2 billion from Treasury has been used for six months he has been in power before releasing another K17 billion.

But UK released in June 2020  the funds, through UNICEF Malawi, to support Malawi government’s Covid-19 preparedness and response by among other things activities which Chakwera said were carried by different clusters.

This was confirmed by UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, when he visited Malawi.

The funds from Britain were  meant for among other things; expanding surveillance to 12 the  districts; equipping two more Emergency Treatment Units (eight total); deploying 40 nurses, and frontline health workers in hard hit maternal and neonatal mortality districts to protect basic services; supporting trials of pharmaceuticals to treat ambulatory Covid-19 cases and avert hospitalisation; scaling up use of face-coverings to reduce contagion risk in public settings.

The K 5.3 Billion was also for completion of a new oxygen plant; and procuring vital equipment (700,000 gloves, 140 Oxygen Concentrators, 50,000 masks, and other medical supplies) to treat 2,500 patients

The  funds were also budgeted for national awareness campaigns, reaching 2 million more people; Strengthen the Emergency Operation Centre of the Ministry of Health; support coordination in 12 more districts.

The K 5.3 Billion package is an addition to the £1.8m of UK aid that was provided earlier in March to support the setting up of the national testing lab, improve screening across nine districts, setting up of six emergency treatment units, training of 200 health workers, and procuring vital supplies  as well as raising public awareness about the pandemic.

This was before the first Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Malawi.

However, there is little to show on the ground with public anger bottling up that  funds both from the UK aid and the Treasury have been plundered by some public officers.

The public has been channelling their donations to the  fundraising initiative for urgent Covid-19 relief led by Stanley Onjezani Kenani  and Dr Thandi ‘Pulimuheya’ Hara  to assist public hospitals with the much-needed oxygen tanks and flow meters.

They swiftly bought 40 oxygen cylinders and flow meters, worth over K17 million and distributed to the four central hospitals of Mzuzu, Kamuzu in Lilongwe, Zomba, and Queen Elisabeth in Blantyre.

And more resources are flowing in to assist other hospitals following their greater accountability.

President Chakwera declared a national state of disaster due to Covid-19 and asked the international community, local businesses, and common citizens to stand up and contribute money, materials, and ideas, towards the disaster fund, but Malawians are not trusting their government over allegations of abuse.

However, the speed at which  Kenani and his colleagues have moved in has been impressive winning hearts of the corporate world and the citizenry.

President Chakwera had initially presented an expenditure breakdown from the K6.2 billion fund that, among other things, indicated allocations for meetings and other items critics felt were not a priority.

The opposition has claimed that Dodma only accounted for K595 million when the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 demanded an expenditure report on the K6.2 billion.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson on finance Joseph Mwanamvekha, who was minister of Finance until the court-sanction June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election,  alleged that out of the K595 million, K15 million could not be accounted for and Dodma was sent back to return on February 9 with the full expenditure report.

Said Mwanamvekha: “What is equally unsettling are reports that despite the K580 million allocation for border patrols, some borders like Chitipa, Songwe and others are not being patrolled.

“Without being overly speculative, the conduct of Dodma could just be a microcosm of a much larger rot happening in government regarding the use of funds meant for the fight against Covid-19.”

Following widespread reports of Covid-19 funds abuses, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition also demanded that government should take immediate action on the matter.

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Kudu hunter
Kudu hunter
15 days ago

Are these donors stupid knowing there is so much corruption and plundering of public funds keep on giving and in billions the help does not reach Malawians and where its needed
Should set up a system and agree with the government where donors should deal directly set up office with their own people and make sure the funds reach where needed and see it through might go a long way like that otherwise its a never ending circle and Malawians will keep on suffering because of greedy bastards
Foreign donors need to wake up too

Last edited 15 days ago by Kudu hunter
Nyekhwe the Nyex
Nyekhwe the Nyex
15 days ago

Azungu kusamva next time give the money to Onjezani Kenani. Not these white collar thieves

Anzelu ndi Anzelu
Anzelu ndi Anzelu
15 days ago

The rot is deeper than we thought, much deeper. Billions have been stolen in broad daylight. That is why ministers like Eisenhower Mkaka became instead billionaires, and the minister of sports can now afford to go to India for a hairdo or haircut. MCP was very hungry, 31 years out of government was taking a roll on them andcthe minute they got into power it was payback time. Chilima is quiet, UTM is complicit in all this mess. We need independent auditors to help us account for every tambala. The media must be present, that is what ATI bill is… Read more »

Covivax
Covivax
15 days ago

The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 really and truly don’t need to take into account and over do implementing advise on face mask wearing. I mean it was advised that “ scaling up use of face-coverings to reduce contagion risk in public settings” Since when in the gods green earth did my own personal car that I’m alone in became a public setting? Why should I be fined for not wearing a face mask in my own car when I’m alone? It’s either the police have been miscommunicated on the matter or they are taking the Liberties by trying to… Read more »

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