Chakwera fires DODMA chief, Covid taskforce chair


President Lazarus Chakwera has fired Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) commissioner James Chiusiwa following looting of Covid-19 funds.

The Malawi leader has also fired co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus Dr John Phuka.

Chakwera saiud during a press briefing on Sunday that he will announce Chiusiwa’s replacement. The Malawi leader has since replaced Phuka with Dr Chalamila Nkhoma.

He added that he has directed Secretary to the President Zangazanga Chikhosi to remove all heads of Covid-19 cluster committees, saying the clusters have defied his directive to submit weekly expenditure reports for the about K17 billion that was disbursed last month.

Chakwera in his speech, accused DODMA and the taskforce of failing to institute necessary reforms following a 2020 Ombudsman report that revealed that most of the Covid-19 funds last year were used for allowances.

He said representatives from Malawi Human Rights Commission and Anti-Corruption Bureau will be added to the presidential taskforce to ensure accountability on use of funds.

The Malawi leader then assured Malawians that reports of abuse of K6.2 billion in Covid-19 funds will be investigated and suspects will be prosecuted.

“Anyone who abused or stole the Covid-19 funds whether at district council or at DODMA will be prosecuted,” said Chakwera.

He then expressed concern over the culture of allowances and abuse of funds in the civil service, saying some suspects are protected by employment laws in the civil service.

The Malawi leader has since tasked Vice President Saulos Chilima with forming a review committee that will institute reforms to stop the looting of public funds in the civil service.