The National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NAC) has called on government to be transparent and accountable in the procurement of coronavirus (Covid-19) materials and in managing resources allocated to the pandemic.
NAP chairperson Moses Mkandawire in an interview and a statement issued on Monday, said when disasters loom in the country, some government officials take advantage of the situation to plunder resources through corrupt means.
NAP comprises the Malawi Law Society (MLS), Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Youth and Society.
Mkandawire said it is important that resources are accounted for to avoid chaos in containing the disease in the country.
He said: “The critical issue we are mentioning is about procurement of drugs and materials. When it comes to procurement, we note that it is an area where corruption takes place. So, government should put proper regulations in management of resources. It should be clear as to where they are procuring materials and when they will be delivering such materials.”
In the statement he signed as the alliance’s chairperson, Mkandawire said the NAC is aware that emergencies such as Covid-19 provide opportunities for “thieves in government to steal more,” particularly when oversight institutions are weak.
He warned that if corruption is left unchecked, government will undermine the responses outlined against the pandemic and thereby deprive people of the much-needed preventive and curative healthcare.
The statement he signed reads in part: “There is no one to deny the fact that there are cracks in our procurement systems, which provide potential risks and opportunities for corruption. Therefore, we demand more transparency and accountability in any Covid-19-related procurement.”
But Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who is chairperson of the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, assured that government already put in place corruption preventive measures and, as such, there are no loopholes for corruption.
He said: “As resources are trickling in, we have robust accounting systems in place. Therefore, we should be able to account for procurement. We will account for every single penny.”
President Peter Mutharika ordered that 10 percent of his salary and that of Cabinet ministers be cut by 10 percent. In addition, Vice-President Saulos Chilima has committed 100 percent of his salary to Covid-19 fight initiatives.
Recently, Chinese anthropologist Jack Ma donated a set of equipment that will be used for fighting Covid-19, which has since on Monday infected five people in the country and over one million across the globe.
Government announced it had reserved K15 billion for Covid-19 responses, out of which K1.1 billion has since been released by Treasury.