Government urged to audit all Covd-19 funds

By Chancy Namadzunda:

Civil Society organizations working under the Follow the Money International, Malawi chapter banner have urged government to institute investigations and audits on all funds allocated for Covid-19, whether managed by the former investigations and audits on all funds allocated for Covid-19, whether managed by the former or present regime.

While commending President Lazarus Chakwera for taking drastic measures towards public officers implicated in the Auditor General’s Report on the usage and accountability of the K6.2 Billion Covid-19 funds, the organizations has called on the authorities to put in place proper structures and systems that enhance transparency and accountability principles, with effective internal controls.

“It was saddening to learn that Covid-19 emergency financial allocation and utilization was marred by incidences of abuse, maladministration, fraud and misplaced priorities. Government sectors, district, city, and town councils failed to provide expenditure reports of how the Covid-19 financial resources meant for preparedness and mitigation of an emergency was spent. Worse still, having senior public officers borrowing the same money at the time when the country was in dire need of Covid-19 resources meant to serve lives. It is disheartening to see that the country lost able developmental conscious citizens because of such abuse.

“As much as we applaud Dr Lazarus Chakwela and his government on the strides registered after the release of the Covid-19 Audit Report, we urge all other stakeholders involved like the Police, Judiciary and all other concerned entities to move with urgency and ensure that justice prevails. A clean and a responsible Malawi begins with each and every one of us,” reads part of statement

Further, the Follow the Money Malawi Coalition is of the view that systematic check points, regular reporting of implementation processes and spending and also, publishing of steps and milestones being achieved from government departments, district and town councils, going up to the national task force, and consolidated by the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (DoDMA) could go a long way in achieving effectiveness of the implementing agencies.

“We also call upon the general public not to relent and leave the fight against public financial maladministration to government alone, every information that we have is vital and could go a long way to ensure the successful completion of the cases that have so far started,” reads the statement in part.

Since the audit report was leaked, several public officers have been arrested and Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo from Cabinet was fired from the cabinet.

Follow The Money, Malawi, Connected Development, BudgIT, Global Integrity, Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), CEWAG, PODCAM, CYESE, IVY Foundation are some of the organizations under the Follow the Money Malawi Coalition.

Follow the Money International is a Pan African movement working to promote transparency and accountability in public financial spending.

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