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Social cash transfer woes

Rights body wants councils audited

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Gospel Kazako

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the government to undertake a consolidated audit of Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) funds in all councils and recover money from people who abused it.

In a statement issued Thursday, HRDC National Chairperson Gift Trapence systematic upgrade of the programme’s safeguards to avoid further wastage of public resources. says the grouping wants a

This follows an investigative audit report that was carried by the National Local Government Finance Committee at Lilongwe District Council, where it found that K96,442,400 meant for SCTP beneficiaries was mismanaged.

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A summary review of the findings shows that funds amounting to K59,550,000 meant for absentee beneficiaries were not paid to the beneficiaries in subsequent cycles and that the funds were misappropriated.

According to the report, some of the schemes used to embezzle the funds included reprinting of beneficiary passbooks for absent beneficiaries, collusion between accounts officers and technical staff to misappropriate absentee beneficiaries’ allocations and poor controls when reprinting passbooks for beneficiaries who have no passbooks.

“In view of the above, we demand the following; all those suspected of abusing the funds should face the long arm of the law. Government should undertake a consolidated audit of the Social Cash Transfer Programme in all councils,” HRDC says.

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It also demands that the government should recover all the money from the people who abused the same.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako said any negative use of public resources could not be condoned and asked HRDC to officially submit the concerns to the government.

“This is one of the very few times HRDC has demonstrated its understanding and appreciation of our values and ethics. We don’t condone plundering of public resources and HRDC is preaching to the choir,” Kazako said.

According to HRDC in January 2021 Lilongwe District Council acknowledged the findings of the audit and promised to address the challenge highlighted in the report.

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