The Human Rights Defenders Coalition [HRDC], is demanding all culprits who abused Covid-19 funds pay back the monies, giving government 7 days to arrest the suspected culprits and government to give Malawians an action plan on how the money will be recovered.
The HRDC has since warned government that it will mobilize Malawians to hold mass demonstrations across Malawi on 29th April 2021 if the demands to arrest the suspected culprits are not met saying Malawians will not be spectators and watch public funds being abused, they will make sure that every tambala is accounted for and that their money is back.
The organization has faulted President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera as he owes the nation an explanation on the emerging issues surrounding misprocurement in the Office of the President and Cabinet and how the issues emerged will be addressed, demanding the interdiction of Senior Controlling Officers in government, including some in the OPC and even those at local District Councils so that the rule of law take its course.
In the statement dated 16th April 2021 signed its National Chairperson, Gift Trapence, the HRDC has recommended for an overhaul of the civil service, no dealing with rotten apples, saying these are same government officers that have been involved in the looting of public funds over the past decades, this is no secret, they have turned this country into a crime.
The HRDC is demanding the Malawi Police Service [MPS], the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declaration, Law enforcement agencies to investigate the companies that benefited from unlawful procurements, saying these companies should be blacklisted and delisted from public procurement, citing one, Kokoliko Dealers which was awarded a K5.8 Million contract to supply face masks and hand sanitizers to the Ministry of Labour, noting that Kokoliko Dealers was not registered to supply goods to public institutions.
The organization is demanding government to establish a Special Court to deal with this fraud because Malawians need quick turnaround on this issue, a quick resolution and prosecution of culprits as this will send a clear and resolute message to the civil servants on how quick the wheels of justice work.
It is appealing to government to strengthen its procurement systems to ensure that they put an end to this looting saying this level of looting is unacceptable, government has to ensure that the people’s taxes are used prudently.
…”The HRDC has read and analyzed with absolute dismay the investigative report on the usage and accountability of the K6.2 Billion Covid-19 funds disbursement as presented by the National Audit Office…,’’ reads part of the statement
The HRDC has commended the National Audit Office for compiling the thorough and in-depth report, saying it is a detailed report that leaves no doubt as to who the culprits are and how the public money was looted by some heartless public servants.
According to the audit report which has been released, Covid-19 funds were stolen through diversion of items for personal use, unaccounted, missing cash and vouchers, payment of undue allowances to ghost workers, missing fuel, among others.
The report says K83 Million is not accounted for, K12 Million missing cash, K40 Million missing fuel purchases that were not liquidated, diverted, or refunds not supported by receipts and K488 Million was lost through irregular procurement.
By Vincent Gunde