Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa says government has rolled out periodic financial auditing measures to check against financial abuse and corruption in councils.
The minister made the remarks in Kasungu on Saturday on the sidelines of the launch of Kasungu Stadium.
Nankhumwa was responding to a question on what government is doing to tackle widespread cases of theft, misuse and abuse of public resources in councils.
He acknowledged that delays by government to audit councils in the past used to give officials working in district, local, city and municipal councils a leeway to abuse the resources.
Said Nankhumwa: “Sometime back, councils were taking a long time to be audited – maybe after five years. But this time around, each and every year, councils are being audited.
“Government will not sit down and watch these financial resources going down the drain. We are going to act according to the law. Culprits will be punished. This is taxpayers’ money and it is the wish of government to have it used for intended purposes,” stressed Nankhumwa.
Recently, some members of Parliament (MP) and councillors from Mchinji decried the tendency by government, communities and governance institutions to target ‘small fish’ in the fight against corruption in councils.
Malawi has 35 local government councils broken down as follows: four city councils (Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba), two municipality councils (Luchenza in Thyolo and Kasungu), one town council (Mangochi) and 28 district councils.
Under the Decentralisation Policy, local government councils have become a key player in public finance management as they handle increased sums of money for development and other projects. n