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Government moves on errant officers

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Zangazanga Chikhosi

Government has announced that it will be naming and shaming public officers who fail to comply with relevant financial regulations and procedures in the course of their work.

Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-zanga Chikhosi has said this in a memo dated September 22 2021 to controlling officers, principal secretaries and heads of departments.

This, according to government spokesperson Gospel Kazako, is in line with the Tonse philosophy which is to safeguard the public purse and address all problems in public finance management, adding that the move should not be mistaken for political witch-hunting.

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Chikhosi has, in the letter, decried the recurrence of audit queries across ministries which, he said, are a result of laxity and negligence of responsible officers.

“This development aims at enforcing implementation of various measures instituted to promote transparency and accountability of public resources.

“I wish to inform you that from now onwards the Auditor General’s report will include names of officers failing to comply with relevant regulations and procedures as well as respective supervisors and controlling officers,” the memo reads in part.

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He warned that the government would not tolerate any more non-compliance of stipulated guidelines and principles on usage of public resources.

“I should remind all addressees and all civil servants that Section 39(1) of the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulations (1989) is still applicable and will be applied in cases of non-compliance,” Chikhosi adds.

Kazako said the government was committed to ending inefficiencies in government systems that have over the years led to loss of resources.

Centre for Transparency and Accountability Executive Director Willie Kambwandira hailed the move, saying personal liability of responsible public officers would go a long way in putting theft of government resources in check.

“It is a very good development and it appears that there is some good will in government and we will be monitoring implementation of this directive to ensure action on the ground.

“We have had so much rhetoric and Malawians want action. Some previous audit reports have mentioned names but we have not seen conclusive action and decisiveness,” Kambwandira said.

This comes hot on the heels of a revelation that 19 Malawian embassies siphoned up to K600 million between January 1 2019 and June 30 2020

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