Pension scam at Capital Hill
There a syndicate of unscrupulous government officials who are stealing pension funds for struggling civil servants, making them more vulnerable as they retire, The Daily Times has established.
Liarick Chidzanja, who has worked as a primary school teacher for 30 years, has lost over K10 million as he is being told that his dues were already collected.
According to records at Ministry of Education, Ministry Finance and Department of Human Resources Management, Chidzanja has already retired and received his pension and gratuity money.
Chidzanja has since said he has lost hope that he will get his pension money because the ministry is no longer keeping his file.
“I don’t know the one who processed the file. My records are with Ministry of Education which means that the one who can get my particulars is between me and the ministry and to say the truth the ministry knows something about this. I don’t know what to do,” he said.
He further said the ministry advised him to keep his file on his own which is also worrying him.
“My file is with me meaning, the Ministry of Education has no records about me. Do you think the ministry can address my problem?” he said.
Teachers’ Union of Malawi (Tum) has said it is aware of Chidzaja’s case, revealing that it has received complaints of these cases a number of times.
Tum Secretary General, Dennis Kalekeni, said his organisation has discovered that some people have been processing pension for teachers and such dubious cheques were only cashed at one of the banks in Blantyre.
“We are aware of this challenge. There are some officers who are siphoning money from the government through such means and it is not only teachers, but quite a good number of civil servants. We are going to ensure that no teacher suffers because of weak system of the government where people are just stealing money,” he said
Ministry Spokesperson, Lindiwe Chide, has also confirmed that her office is aware of Chidzanja’s case.
She, however, said the ministry has instituted an investigation to find out how its officials managed to process the cheque.
“We discovered that there was a cheque that had come out in Chidzanja’s name and the matter is now under investigation by the Ministry of Education, Department of Human Resource, Accountant General and the Auditor General’s office. He is going to get his dues,” she said.
An education rights activist, Benedicto Kondowe, has said it is quite unfortunate that government officials are stealing money which civil servants have worked for.
Kondowe said there is need for government to ensure that culprits are brought to book.
“One wonders how resources are released from government system to wrong people other than the pensioners. This is a sad development, we are talking about a civil service which is already frustrated,” he said
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