BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—The general public is leaving no stone unturned in making sure that culprits in K6.2 billion scandal are brought to book with the latest call by the Malawi Institute of Procurement and Supply (MIPS) for investigation into procurements of the Covid-19 related materials amid allegations of massive plunder.
The call follows revelations that government departments which were allocated funds aimed at fighting the Covid-19 pandemic failed to give convincing detailed reports of expenditure, and some officials from the Department of Disaster Management are currently in police custody in connection with the same.
Alinafe Malisawa-President for MIPs-said the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority-PPDA told MIJ online that the government should quickly institute an investigation on how the procurement processes were conducted based on set regulations on the ground and if institutions had proper structures to conduct Covid-19 related procurements.
“If these allegations are indeed true, as MIPS we consider this issue of plunder of public resources as a serious issue of concern, and it is our hope that the relevant authorities are working on these issues so that accurate positions are established and where people are found to have flouted procedures, they should be held accountable and appropriate sanctions should apply” said Malisawa as quoted by MIJ.
“We therefore recommend that, the relevant authorities the PPDA in this case, should conduct investigations on the procurement processes, because section 5(1) stipulates that the PPDA is responsible for regulation, monitoring and oversight of public procurement and disposal of assets in Malawi,” she added.
According to Malisawa, the procurement process is a long and involving procedure that involves many players and in some instances outer influences interfere with the processes more especially in public procurement.
Meanwhile, Police have arrested 11 officials at the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) in connection with the abuse of the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds.
The department’s commissioner Mr James Chiusiwa was also fired by President Lazarus Chakwera amid abuse of K6.2 billion Covid-19 response funds , widely known as Covidgate.
President Chakwera also fired the co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Dr John Phuka and suspended further officials, some “for failing to maintain proper records of how such critical funds were used and others for defying my directive to submit reports weekly to my office”.
When officers appeared before the taskforce with their reports on how they spent 6.2bn kwacha (£5.8m), only one official had properly backed up reports.
Pressure has been mounting on the President to prove how the millions set aside for planning and public awareness, facilitating the return of Malawians from South Africa border patrols and supporting victims of gender-based violence was being spent.