Disgruntled Mangochi residents on Friday took to the streets before petitioning President Peter Mutharika to act on corrupt government officials who are suspected to have been swindling government money through bogus procurements.
The residents have also moved Mutharika to fire departmental heads who, they say, are incompetent and were employed through nepotism and not their qualification as should be the case.
Among others, the citizens are claiming that government is not helping them in speeding up investigations into the massive abuse of public funds and corruption at Mangochi Town Council, despite the residents raising an alarm three weeks ago.
Speaking before presenting the petition to Mangochi District Commissioner Reverend Moses Chimphepo, the group’s Treasurer General, Sadi Chiwalo, said the delay by government to intervene in the matter is a sign that government is not serious about fighting corruption.
He explained that residents of Mangochi are concerned that public funds continue to be swindled by government officials who are working in various departments at the district, a development which he said is denying Mangochi residents quality services.
“We are surprised that government is not doing anything to join us in the fight against corruption after we raised concerns that government officials at the town council are stealing our money. We want the President to act on this if indeed his government is serious about fighting corruption,” Chiwalo said.
The group wants the Anti- Corruption Bureau to probe the council’s development accounts such as Local Development Fund, Constituency Development Fund and other funds that are given to the councils by Malawi’s development partners.
“We want all public officers to adhere to principles of transparency and accountability. We have noted that locally collected funds are not accounted for such that a lot of funds are being used for personal gains and not to facelift the township. This is unacceptable and we demand an immediate stop to this,” he said.
The grouping has also noted with concern that there is nepotism in most government offices in the district such that most departments are being headed by people who are not competent. As a result, the work done in most cases is substandard.
“We do not have qualified people in some offices here. This has led to poor implementation of projects such as the stadium which is already in bad condition before it starts working. This is theft that people of Mangochi are geared to uproot,” Chiwalo said.
Recently Ministry of Local Government spokesperson, Muhlabase Mughogho, told the media that her ministry will support the concerned citizens to establish the truth on the claims of corruption at the council.
Meanwhile, the residents continue to observe civil disobedience in which all business persons in the township are being prohibited to pay taxes awaiting a probe into the corruption allegations.
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