Court denies bail to 16 DODMA officers

Fyabupi Mwafongo

The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate (CRM), Patrick Chirwa has refused to release on bail 16 Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) officers arrested last week on suspicion of abusing public funds.

The State had asked to have the suspects remanded for 14 days so that it concludes investigations on the matter which it argued are serious and complex.

But the CRM granted the state seven days to conclude their investigations into the matter.

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Dodma deputy director Fyabupi Mwafongo and 15 others spent the weekend in police custody as the Lilongwe Magistrate Court had reserves ruling on their bail application to today.

Mwafongo has been charged with abuse of office for failing to account for the MK4 million on allowances. 

The deputy director and the 15 Dodma employees have also been charged with theft by public servants for getting at least K4.2 million in allowances for a two-day meeting held in Mponela in Dowa.

DODMA

Dodma officials appear in court last Friday

Mwafongo was arrested on Wednesday after police said he was implicated in the abuse of COVID-19 funds. 

The majority of the other Dodma employees were picked up on Thursday.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday 14 February, 2021, took a tough stance when he removed COVID-19 co-chairperson John Phuka and others to pave way for full, independent investigation.

Chakwera also fired Dodma Commissioner, Mr James Chiusiwa. Chiusiwa was fired for failing to perform the oversite functions on covid funds.

The removal of the two comes following the  failure by COVID-19 cluster committees to submit reports on how MK6.2 billion funds were spent.

Chakwera directed the restructuring of government allowance, procurement and contract systems, describing them as breeding grounds for corruption.