At the expiry of 48- hour ultimatum Tuesday evening which President Lazarus Chakwera issued for clusters to account for K6.2 billion Covid-19 response funds allocated to then last August, it emerged that the public fear of money being misappropriate is “well-founded.”
Chakwera warned that he will fire any controlling officer or cluster heads who fail to account for the K6.2 billion. He gave the respective ministries and clusters 48 hours to account for the funds to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
On Tuesday, the Task Force received reports from ministries of Health, Local Government, Education and Information, Malawi Prisons and Malawi Defence Force.
But the Task Force led by co-chairperson Dr John Phuka and Minister of Health Kandodo Chiponda rejected several presentations because they clearly could not make sense on their expenditure.
The Task Force asked for fresh reports as it was evident that the funds, which Treasury released in August last year for the Covid-19 fight, were indeed plundered by some public officers.
Other members of the Task Force who rejected the reports at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) included Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa, Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako., Minister of Education Agness Nyalonje.
Chiponda said the Task Force will submit a report to President Chakwera after reviewing all presentations while Kazako said they will update the nation “when everything is done.”
Kazako said the session was not a stunt but a serious process of accountability.
President Chakwera had initially presented an expenditure breakdown that, among other things, indicated allocations for meetings and other items critics felt were not a priority.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has since demanded an immediate audit of how the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).
DPP spokesperson on finance Joseph Mwanamvekha said the opposition party wants the National Audit Office to conduct the audit and that a report on the same should be submitted to Parliament through the Public Accounts Committee.
“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,” said Mwanamvekha in a statement.
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has since written the office of the Auditor General to institute an audit of the K6.2 billion funds.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :