HRDC set to meet Ministers on COVID-19 allowance saga

HRDC Members

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is on Monday expected to hear from the Ministers of Health and Information on their alleged drawing of hefty allowances whilst discharging their duties in the national Coronavirus response.

According to HRDC National Coordinator Luke Tembo, they indicated in their letter to the Ministers on their intention to hear from their side as Information Minister Mark Botomani is on record to have told the nation that they have not pocketed any funds whilst discharging their duties.

However together with his Health counterpart Jappie Mhango, they were last week captured on camera conniving to cover up the funds abuse.

A leaked circular showed that Ministers in the then dissolved Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus pocketed K450,000 while members of parliament carted home K350,000.

Tembo stated that should they not be convinced with their explanation, they will proceed with their demands for the two to step down and have a thorough investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the issue.

“But over and above, what we would want from them is to give us their side of the side of the story and then Malawians at large is going to make a decision on how to move forward

“But should we not be convinced with the explanation, our demand still stands they have to resign and pending investigation into the matter should they be found that they abused the funds the law will take its course,” he said.

The two Ministers captured discussing their hefty allowances

He indicated that consultations are still ongoing on the venue of the meeting as they would prefer a neutral place and want an open discussion where the media should be part of it.

Tembo maintained that even if their resignation calls are not adhered to, it does not stop them from pushing for accountability for those holding public offices.

“As HRDC for as long as we’re here for as long as someone is abusing or has lost trust we will be calling for them to resign,” he added

He clarified that this is not an enquiry but a dialogue on the concerns people have on COVID-19 funds abuse.

A letter from Mhango acknowledged receipt of the HRDC letter on the matter.

“In order for your goodselves to understand the issue better. I would like to invite you to a roundtable meeting on Monday, 4th May, 2020 at the Ministry Headquarters

“I should be most grateful you could avail yourselves at 16:00”

“Accept Mr. Chairperson assurances of my highest consideration,” said the Minister.