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Clash on Covid funds probe

DPP awaits police report on investigations

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Steven Kayuni

By Wezzie Gausi:

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not moved an inch closer to rounding up those suspected of abusing K6.2 billion meant for Covid response, The Daily Times has learned.

However, DPP Steven Kayuni has said his office is still waiting for the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to conclude investigations into issues related to K6.2 billion Covid funds.

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After that, he said, prosecution could start.

He said his mandate is to prosecute and not investigate cases; such that they only prosecute people after law enforcers have finalised investigations.

“We are waiting for the police to provide us with the files of investigations for prosecution to commence.

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“As it is, we cannot do anything until the investigations are over. We don’t [know] when but we will keep waiting, for investigations may sometimes take long [to be concluded],” Kayuni said.

However, MPS spokesperson Peter Kalaya said some investigations were finalised and that prosecution has commenced.

He said the investigations revealed that cases of some individuals did not have to wait for the office of the DPP to prosecute.

“We, as police, have already started prosecuting some cases in court. Of course, none of the cases has reached the final stages of prosecution but we are sure that we will get justice by the end of the day.

“We cannot be telling the public about how the cases are going [every] now and then but the truth is we are making progress on the cases,” Kalaya said.

In 2020, the law enforcers arrested a number of government officials in connection with the alleged abuse of Covid funds.

And, in response to reports that some funds had been abused, President Lazarus Chakwera, in a televised address, announced that he had commissioned an audit into how K6.2 billion intended for the country’s coronavirus response programme had been spent.

He hinted at misconduct among some of the people entrusted with using the funds, indicating that he had realised that part of the funds had vanished, been misused or left idle.

This year, the National Audit Office released a ‘Report on The Investigative Auditing of Covid Covering Disbursement of K17.29 Billion’.

The report, dated January 25 2022, was prepared by Audit Consult for the National Audit Office.

In January 2021, Chakwera announced in a national address that government had committed K17.27 billion to the fight against Covid.

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