‘Covid-19 Presidential Taskforce blew K50m in allowances’

Malawi presidential taskforce on the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is alleged to have blown more than K50 million in allowances and fuel refunds.

Each committee member is said to have pocketed about K60 thousand in allowances and about 257,000 in fuel refunds.

A leaked note on the disbursement show that members of the taskforce have been using the taskforce as a cash-cow to enrich their pockets.

The leaked note for one Taskforce member, for example, shows that Leader of Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa received about K3.6 million between October 2 last year and January 26 this year. Nankhumwa admitted that he received the money in brown envelopes.

Minister of Education Nyalonje who is part of the taskforce visiting Mangochi market last year

Simple mathematics show that the taskforce which has 12 members might have spent at least K50 million in allowances alone.

The amount is likely to skyrocket as some of the members held several familiarization tours where a member confided that allowances are ditched out.

Just recently, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda was in the Northern Region in early February where she inspected a Covid-19 isolation centre in Mzimba and also visited Mzuzu Central Hospital. It is not yet established whether she drew out an allowance on this journey which came a few days after Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera condemned the spirit of allowances deep-rooted among public officials. Chakwera called the behavior retrogressive.

Meanwhile, State House continues to keep a tight lid on the K6.2 billion of Covid-19 funds that were reportedly misused by various clusters.

Of this amount, about K4 billion remained at Capital Hill where the funds were allegedly misappropriated.

There is also K17.5 billion that was recently released for Covid-19 despite poor management of the K6.2 billion release earlier to curtail the transmission and impact of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, whistleblower Idris Ali Nassah has confirmed that Office of the President has been sitting on his request for the report despite the Chakwera administration promising transparency and accountability.

Nassah wants the Office of Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) to make public the expenditure reports for the K6.2 billion as presented to it by the 13 clusters at BICC on February 9, saying public confidence will be secured only if the government is not seen to be hiding or sanitizing the expenditure reports.

“The SPC, however, seems intent on out-doing DODMA in hiding information. Today— about 10 days since I first wrote to them—SPC has simply ignored all and repeated requests for the expenditure reports.

“It is a bad move by SPC, and surely against the principles of transparency and accountability that the president espouses. Unfortunately, the SPC’s intransigence is starting to characterize the entire government.” he posted on Facebook.

The conduct by SPC has led the public to describe the rhetoric by Chakwera on accountability as a facade concealing the looting of public funds which is said to continue at light-speed even in the Tonse administration.

A request has been made to state house and government as to when the report  on both the K6.2 billion and K17.5 billion will be made public. Malawi24 awaits the feedback.

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