By Blessings Mpinganjira:
The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has described President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to interdict without pay officers implicated in K6.2 billion Covid funds abuse as unlawful.
MLS President Patrick Mpaka said, in 2016, the courts made a decision that clearly states that interdiction without pay is contrary to the laws of Malawi.
In his State address on Sunday, that focused on the K6.2 billion Covid funds audit, which he sanctioned in February this year, Chakwera ordered Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Zangazanga Chikhosi to interdict without pay officers under whose watch the looting took place.
He also asked the SPC to initiate disciplinary hearings for the suspects within 14 days.
“The law is clear [that] one cannot be interdicted without pay. If the government will go ahead with the decision, it will cost a lot of tax-payers money in compensating the officers,” Mpaka said.
Information Minister Gospel Kazako said they would seek legal guidance on the issue.
“We, as the government, will seek legal guidance on what the law says but this does not change the decision by the President,” he said.
In February this year, Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe advised the Department of Human Resource Management and Development to reinstate on the payroll civil servants who were interdicted without pay.
The letter by Silungwe further stated that interdiction without pay was illegal, regardless of the circumstances which led to the interdiction of the officers.