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1 month for K6.2 billion Covid funds audit

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Zangazanga Chikhosi

Malawians will have to wait longer to know results of the audit into K6.2 billion meant for Covid fight, after President Lazarus Chakwera projected that it would take independent auditors up to a month to finalise their work.

Chakwera said this Sunday at the State House in Lilongwe during his seventh national address on Covid.

This was after Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi confirmed that controlling officers whose clusters failed to furnish Presidential Taskforce on Covid members with expenditure reports had been interdicted.

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“I confirm, Sir,” said Chikhosi.

On February 14, Chakwera directed Chikhosi to initiate the process of interdicting controlling officers whose clusters did not submit expenditure reports to the taskforce he instituted to oversee the fight against Covid. Others that were handed letters of interdiction are officers whose clusters failed to submit weekly expenditure reports in relation to the K17.5 billion which the Treasury released last month.

Chakwera backed the SPC on the interdictions, saying they would give auditors the leeway to follow the money trail.

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“The interdictions pave [the] way for an independent audit of the K6.2 billion which was spent on our national response to Covid between September and December last year. The audit itself will take about a month to complete, as it involves two phases, the first of which will focus on validation of the report from the Presidential Taskforce, while the second will focus on investigating how every kwacha was spent, by whom and whether the spending was lawful. Upon completion of the independent audit, any public officers associated with wrongdoing will be dealt with and face the law,” Chakwera said.

At the event, Presidential Taskforce on Covid newly appointed co-Chairperson Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma assured Malawians that they had tightened the screws on Covid funds to avoid a repeat of what happened to the first tranche of Covid funds.

Chakwera also backed the decision to re-open schools, saying the country was making positive strides in fighting Covid.

The development comes at a time Covid cases have been declining. For instance, the Presidential Taskforce on Covid indicated that 9,447 Covid tests were conducted in the past seven days, of which 1,430 tested positive for coronavirus, representing an average positivity rate of 15 percent.

This is two percent lower than the positivity rate for the week before.

In a related development, Chakwera said, while the African Union’s Envoy on Africa’s Response to Covid had guaranteed 100,000 vaccines for frontline healthcare workers in Malawi, the delivery of that consignment has been delayed by seven days.

“We are on track to receive it by the end of this month along with 1.5 million doses of the vaccine that we expect to receive around the same time,” he said.

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