By Wezzie Gausi:
The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament has blamed the Ministry of Labour for the firing of its minister Ken Kandodo.
Kandodo was fired by President Lazarus Chakwera early this month in relation to money allegedly borrowed from Covid funds, for an official trip to South Africa which the former minister undertook.
Speaking during the meeting between Pac and Ministry of Labour officials on Monday in Lilongwe, Pac vice-chairperson, Nedson Poya, said their enquiry with the officials revealed the minister was not told the money had been borrowed from elsewhere.
Poya said Kandodo was only told that funds were not available but that the ministry would source them internally.
“We have found that the ministry did not follow the right procedures in using the Covid funds. They did not seek permission from the Accountant General as procedures require.
“Secondly, the ministry gave allowances to officials working in their districts and, thirdly, they used K730,000 to beef up the Tripartite Labour Advisory meeting in Salima,” Poya said.
On the other hand, Poya attributed the chaos to what he described as a rotten system that is at play in the government where officials ‘borrow’ money meant for one project and refund it afterwards.
Secretary for Labour, Dickson Chunga, admitted having flouted finance management procedures when using the Covid funds.
He said the ministry would refund the K730,000 that was used for the Tripartite Labour Advisory Meeting within one month from the other recurrent transactions after consultations because the K 1.4 million had already been refunded.
Over 60 people have so far been arrested in relation to the K6.2 billion Covid emergency funds part of which was allegedly abused by some public officers and businesspeople.
Chakwera ordered an investigative audit into how the funds, a donation from the Reserve Bank of Malawi, were used after several queries by some stakeholders pointed to suspected abuse.
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