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Vaam members on leaders’ neck

I did not handle any cash—Gilbert Mpakule

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Some Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) members have alleged that their acting leader Gilbert Mpakule and other leaders misused money they received from the government through Artists’ Welfare Fund, which was meant to go towards the funeral arrangement of veteran artist Nixon Malamulo.

Malamulo, a veteran visual artist, died last week Saturday and was laid to rest at Malabada in Ndirande, Blantyre, last Monday.

However, some members claimed that Vaam leaders received money which they misused and are failing to account for it.

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“They need to explain to us how they used this money, this money was meant for funeral arrangements and to go to the family but they are failing to tell us the budget,” one of the visual artists who did not want to be named, said.

The issue turned sour on social media which led to some members being blocked.

Mpakule said yesterday that they did not handle any cash from the fund as claimed by some members but rather they just facilitated the process.

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“We as a body, were just facilitating. For instance we were told to look for quotations for the coffin and other services but we did not handle any cash. Even the other funds which came went direct to the deceased’s family,” he said.

On the issue of blocking members on WhatsApp, Mpakule said the platform’s administrator is the secretary general.

“The administrator felt some members were blowing the issue out of proportion despite our explanation on how these funds were used and the best which was done was to block members,” he said.

Mpakule said he was clean on the issue.

“For more details or to get first-hand information on how Artists Welfare Fund works, you can talk to Director of Arts in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife,” he said.

Director of Arts in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Humphrey Mpondaminga confirmed that they only used Vaam to facilitate the process but the association did not handle any cash.

“We just used Vaam to facilitate the process so that they could work together with the deceased family. Those who have issues should bring concrete evidence and information,” Mpondaminga said.

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