President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has refused to release expenditure reports on the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds.
Journalist Idris Ali Nassah used the Access to Information Act to request for the information but the Chakwera administration through Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi has refused to release the reports.
“I wrote him on 15th of February and he neither acknowledged receipt nor bothered with an explanation why the information requested under the Access to Information Act couldn’t be made public,” said Nassah.
The K6.2 billion was provided in August last year for the Covid-19 fight but a huge chunk of it was reportedly mismanaged.
In January, K17.2 billion was also distributed to Covid-19 clusters as well as councils but after revelations about abuse of the K6.2 billion, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) last month demanded that the second funding be returned.
Nassah on February 26 asked Reverend Moses Chimphepo who is the Officer-in-Charge at Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) to provide proof of money being paid back to DODMA after government ordered that the K17.2 billion second funding already released to the clusters should be transferred back.
However, Chimphepo did not respond to his letter.
“One thing is clear; it was easy to blame civil servants for pocketing allowances but when we dug deeper into who pocketed the largest chuck of the Covid-19 funds, we found that there are very powerful people and institutions who do not want this information to be made public.
“We are on to something here because in my experience, I know that small crooks tend to protect bigger crooks up the food chain. Rattle the small crooks hard enough and you will soon know who the bigger crooks are,” said Nassah.