Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa has warned chiefs in the country against stealing public funds by paying ghost workers in the public works programme.
The public works programme under Masaf IV is facing challenges as some people who never participated in the works are receiving payments.
In his remarks Nankhumwa said the ministry has information that some chiefs in the country are changing figures of beneficiaries for the public works programme.
“There are several cases that government is handling where chiefs gave a bigger number of beneficiaries and some district councils have been fighting with chiefs over increased number of beneficiaries,” he explained.
According to Nankhumwa, there are some districts in the country where the public works programmes have failed due to disagreements between traditional leaders and technical people at district level.
When asked to name the chiefs, Nankhumwa failed to disclose them but he warned that any chief found frustrating the public works programme will be dealt with.
However, some district councils are taking measures to curb abuse of funds during the programmes. Karonga district council officials recently introduced use of identity cards when employing and paying residents who participated in the district’s public works programme.
The public works programme is aimed at empowering the poor by paying them for the development works they do under the initiative.