Govt to stop buying police food rations: ‘We spend K21,000 per meal pack’

Malawi Police

The Tonse Alliance Government says it will abolish the policy of buying food rations for police officers because the government spends a lot of money with a meal pack costing K21,000.

Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda revealed this in Parliament on Wednesday in response to a question from Werani Chilenga, Member of Parliament for Chitipa South.

Chimwendo Banda

Chilenga wondered why the allocation for food rations in the Malawi Police Service vote was reduced from K366 million the previous year to K73 million in the 2020/21 national budget.

In response, Chimwendo said government is looking to abolish the policy of buying food rations because the Ministry spends a lot of money on the food rations.

“We will soon indicate what we will do to empower our officers on duty. We will either be giving them small allowances other than spending K21,00 per pack when the very same officer can be empowered with little resources,” said Chimwendo.

The meal packs are given to police officers when they are carrying out their duties, including when they are standing on the roadside for hours to provide security on the route used by the president.

A published investigative report revealed that many times during such operations the police officers are not given the food rations.

Police food rations in Malawi came into the limelight in 2018 following the K2.8 billion food rations scandal.

The Malawi Police awarded a K2.8 billion contract to Pioneer Investment to supply 500,000 packs to the police. After being awarded the contract in 2016, Pioneer Investment’s Zameer Karim deposited K145 million into an account whose sole signatory was Peter Mutharika, the Malawi president at the time.

Mutharika denied benefitting from the money and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) claimed that the account was used for fundraising activities.

Karim and some Malawi Police senior officials were arrested but they are yet to be prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.