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Lazarus Chakwera spits fire

CHAKWERA— This is completely unacceptable

President Lazarus Chakwera Sunday said his government would fire any controlling officer found to have abused the K6.2 billion that the Treasury released for Covid response interventions.

Giving an update on efforts being made to defeat the Covid pandemic, Chakwera said it was unfortunate that some controlling officers in government ministries, as well as heads of Covid clusters, were yet to submit expenditure reports of how they used the K6.2 billion Covid package disbursed last year.

“This is completely unacceptable. I have, therefore, summoned all controlling officers and heads of clusters to meet my [Presidential] Taskforce [on Covid] in 48 hours and account for how they used that money.

“Make no mistake: Any cluster that either fails to account for the money it received or is found to have abused their funds is a cluster in which heads will roll,” Chakwera said.

On a positive note, the President applauded non-State actors that have contributed K2.2 billion to the Covid fight. He said individuals, companies and organisations had responded warmly to his declaration of a State of National Disaster last month.

Chakwera also applauded the country’s healthcare workers for fearlessly taking on coronavirus.

“In fact, whenever you meet a healthcare worker, you should shower them with praise and thanks, not insults and ingratitude,” he said.

Coincidentally, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), in a statement released on February 4 2021, asked the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) to give a detailed account of how it used K6.2 billion meant for Covid fight.

“On January 17 2021, President Lazarus Chakwera told the country, through a televised national address, that his administration had, in August 2020, released K6.2 billion for use by Dodma in combating the pandemic.

“According to the President, the K6.2 billion was used as follows: K60 million on planning meetings; K535 million on facilitating the return of Malawians from South Africa; K185 million on public awareness on media platforms; K580 million on border patrols (and) K72 million to support victims of gender-based violence during the pandemic with materials and cash transfers,” HRDC said

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