President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera says in as far as he is concerned, anyone who steals or wastes public funds is a traitor to the country saying the sad reality is many public servants want to get rich quickly that they are only too keen to defraud their own country.
Dr. Chakwera said the sad reality is that there are many private citizens who are eager to access public service and government contracts that they would willingly attempt to corrupt public servants to defraud their own country.
He assured criminals to count him and his administration among their enemies because he will fight them until they are defeated, no matter how long it takes, praying that God’s curse will rest on anyone who steals even one Kwacha of the public funds God has entrusted government to use in serving Malawians.
Speaking at Mtunthama State Residence in Lilongwe on Sunday evening on the investigative audit report on the usage and accountability of K6.2 Billion Covid-19 disbursement, President Dr. Chakwera assured Malawians that there is no place where these criminals will hide, saying the outrage and anguish Malawians feel from reading this audit report is not only righteous, but also counting on continued vigilance as they continue to join hands in fighting against his criminal enterprise until it is defeated.
Dr. Chakwera said Malawians can now see why he was right to order this report saying if it were not for this audit, Malawians would have remained ignorant on how much of the K6.2 Billion was well spent and how much was stolen, assuring the general public that those who receivedthe money improperly will pay it back to the public purse.
He promised Malawians that this audit is only the beginning for he has every intention of conducting similar audits into other funds spent on Covid-19 since before he took office as well as audits into other public funds spent by various institutions.
The President said he has decided to use independent and investigative audits to ensure that government pursuit of thieves is backed by evidence that will stand up in court, saying he is taking action, there are no sacred cows and there will be more arrests.
…”As these suspected of committing financial crimes are being arrested, I have instituted a team comprising representatives from the Department of Human Resources Management and Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice and my office, this team is already identifying public officers implicated by this report…,’’ said President Dr. Chakwera.
He has since directed the Secretary to the President and Cabinet [SPC], Mr. Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi to interdict without pay these public officers on whose direct watch the financial mismanagement occurred citing one, the Minister of Labour, Hon. Ken Kandodo who was named in the audit report as having spent Covid-19 fu nds amounting to K613,000 on allowances for a foreign trip.
President Dr. Chakwera announced that he has dropped Hon. Ken Kandodo from his Cabinet accordingly even though the Minister has since returned the money, saying he cannot have in his Cabinet any individuals who spends money budgeted for one thing on something else.
He said the public servants concerned must be referred to the respective service commission to be cleared or disciplined to be done within 30 days and the Ministry of Justice to engage the Chief Justice on the measures to expedite prosecution of cases concerning Covid-19 funds.
By Vincent Gunde