Kasungu Civil Society Network Organisation has taken to task Kasungu Municipal Council for using Covid-19 response funds to pay salaries for staff.
During a full council meeting, members agreed to use K13 million meant for Covid-19 fight to pay the council’s striking staff that had gone three months without pay.
But in an interview on Wednesday, the organisation’s chairperson Gentry Kamanga said the pandemic has affected the economy, including that of the council; hence, its response activities should not stop.
“We will not allow the funds to be used for other purposes because that’s putting people’s lives at risk. This should be the first and last time for the council to divert funds meant for disaster,” he said.
However, the organisation has allowed the council to use only K7 million and refund the remainder within 45 days.
The council has since agreed to the organisation’s demand.
Kasungu Municipality mayor Socrates Jere said they did not collect sufficient revenue due to the political tension in the country.
“So, we used Covid-19 funds to settle their salaries to stop the strike,” he said.
He appealed to residents to cooperate in paying ground rates and other fees to enable the council run its activities smoothly.
“We expect to collect about K80 million from property rates and licence renewing. Therefore, by August we will shut down businesses and other operations of those who will not comply,” he said.
The organisation fights for transparency and accountability in the municipality.