Chakwera gets tough, interdicts errant controlling officers in K6.2bn saga

President Lazarus Chakwera at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe

President Lazarus Chakwera has interdicted controlling officers whose clusters appeared before his Taskforce on Covid-19 without backing documents for their expenditure reports and non-compliance to submit weekly reports on their allocation of the money disbursed to them by Treasury in January this year.

In implementing the two directives, he consulted the Solicitor General, the Acting Auditor General and other relevant bodies to ensure the letters of interdiction to the cluster heads are written in a manner compliant with the law.

Chakwera justified an impending audit which will take about a month to complete arguing it is aimed at paving way for an independent investigation of how the K6.2 billion was spent on the national response to the pandemic between September and December last year.

“The audit itself will take about a month to complete, as it involves two phases, the first of which will focus on validation of the report from the Presidential Task Force, while the second will focus on investigating how every kwacha was spent, by whom, and whether the spending was lawful.

“Upon completion of the independent audit, any public officers associated with wrongdoing will be dealt with and face the law,” disclosed the President.

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New COVID-19 Co-Chairperson: Dr. Chalamira-Nkhoma

During his seventh Sunday COVID-19 address, Chakwera introduced Dr. Wilfred Chalamira-Nkhoma as the new Co-Chair of the Taskforce replacing Dr. John Phuka who was relieved of his duties.

Over the past seven days, 9,447 tests were conducted nationwide, of which 1,430 were positive; representing an average positivity rate of 15 percent, two percent lower than the week before.

The Malawi leader attributed the re-opening of all schools across the country on 22nd February, 2021 involving both private and public institutions and includes learners who have been selected to various secondary schools to start Form One to the downward trend in new infections.

Following the five week schools closure, the Ministry of Education has revised the academic calendar for public schools to ensure that students receive adequate teaching to meet curriculum requirements.

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Chakwera captured walking to the podium to deliver his address. Pics by State  house press office

The President went on to condemn the attack on Ministry of health personnel last week.

“I must strongly condemn the recent beating of ambulance drivers and health personnel during their routine delivery of the remains of those who died of Covid-19.

“It is to the credit of our health workers that we are able to bury those who die of Covid-19 in a way that does not expose the living to infection. It is also to their credit that we take comfort in the recovery of 2,861 people in the past week. No attack on our health personnel will be tolerated” warned Chakwera.

As of 21st February, Malawi has registered 214 new cases, 220 recoveries, 14 admissions and nine deaths.