Government warns bad apples

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    Government has acknowledged the existence of corruption in Local Government councils that operate under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the country.

    Without giving out figures, both Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa and Director of Local Development Fund (LDF) Charles Mandala on Thursday expressed concern that a big percentage of money that goes to 35 local councils for the purpose of improving lives of people ends up being misused.

    Nankhumwa, therefore, said government has made a decision to start following up on all audit reports as a means of bringing to book those suspected to have swindled public money.

    He said government is concerned that, as it tries to restore donor confidence, some controlling officers in local councils are busy stealing money meant for development, thereby denting government’s image through corruption.

    The sentiments were made during this year’s technical review meeting which attracted district commissioners, chief executive officers and key partners under the Ministry of Local government.

    “We know that there are some controlling officers among you who are doing fine. But let me say here that we have a lot of bad apples [such apples] need to be plucked. We will prosecute you, irrespective of where you will be. We will prosecute you for sins committed in your previous postings. We cannot continue like this,” Nankhumwa said.

    The minister said government allocates money to local councils to alleviate the suffering of poor people, only for a significant portion of the money to go into people’s pockets.

    Sharing his concern, Mandala said, as LDF, they are worried that most councils take time to account for money they use under development accounts such as the Malawi Social Action Fund and Social Cash Transfer.

    He said, so far, only 12 out of 35 local councils have managed to liquidate money which LDF gave them in the January and February cycles, a delay of about eight months. He said this is despite that LDF provides a two-week window for liquidation purposes.

    From 2014 to June 2017, government has spent about K43.7 billion on Masaf and social cash transfer programmes.

    Mandala further challenged stakeholders to find ways of ensuring that the money goes into the pockets of deserving Malawians and not government officials that handle finances.

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