By Dorica Mtenje:
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has ordered the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to recover allowances it gave to Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa within seven days.
Nankhumwa, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Southern Region, has been under fire for receiving K3.6 million Covid-19 allowances.
This is after the social media was awash with an allowance breakdown indicating that Nankhumwa has been pocketing K60,000 twice as daily subsistence allowances and fuel allowance.
However, Nankhumwa told the local media that the allegations are politically motivated.
On Thursday, Taskforce Chairperson Dr Chalamira Nkhoma told the PAC that just like any other participant, Nankhumwa was given all allowances including fuel and accomodation.
He said Nankhumwa indicated that he travel from Mulanje, where he resides, to Lilongwe to attend meetings, a notion which the First Deputy Speaker Madalitso Kazombo refuted saying as LoP, the Mulanje Central Legislator gets monthly allowances like fuel, security officer and House rentals in Lilongwe.
PAC Chairperson Shadrek Namalomba said Nankhumwa got the allowances illegally as he gets benefits from Parliament, being a Leader of Opposition.
By receiving the allowances, Namalomba said Nankhumwa betrayed the committee.
Recently, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) also demanded that Nankhumwa should pay back questionable allowances he received upon every sitting of the Taskforce.
In a statement signed by HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo, the organization said they were enraged by the recklessness exhibited leaders, especially at this time when it is important that the country uses every available resource to fight the pandemic.
“We are in the fight of our lives. The K3.6 million that Honourable Nankhumwa pocketed could have gone a long in saving the lives of several patients.
“In fact, if the K3.6 million was channelled directly towards the Covid-19 fight, it could have filled 36 oxygen cylinders or bought about 16 flowmeters, both of which are critical for the survival of Covid-19 patients. We can only wonder how many lives could have been saved by the K3.6 million Honourable Nankhumwa pocked,” reads the statement in part