Malawi Civil Service 'Cleanup' Team Goes to 'War' Against Looting Public Funds

26 February 2021

The Public Service Systems Review Taskforce which government announced last week Friday has rolled into action and held its first meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday to roll out its work to comprehensively review systems of allowances, procurement and employment contracts which have over the years been conduits of looting public funds.

The meeting - chaired by Vice President Saulos Chilima - marked "the first day of the 90-day assignment" as mandated by President Lazarus Chakwera according to a statement released on Thursday night.

The statement signed by Chilima's spokesperson Pilirani Phiri indicated that after realising the urgency of the task at hand, the Taskforce members have agreed and committed to deliver a comprehensive recommendation report within the stipulated 90 days.

"But (the Taskforce) will be reporting progress and making recommendations on quick-wins e.g. Procurement. Thus, four sub-committees have been formed to tackle specific tasks: (i) Procurement (ii) Allowances (iii) Employment Contracts (iv) Conditions of Service," it said.

In carrying out the work, it is expected that the Taskforce will be engaging different stakeholder groups depending on the specific task at hand as well as regularly engaging and updating both the media and the public.

"To this effect, special email addresses will be created and communicated where the public could deposit their input on the task at hand," it further said.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Taskforce members have further agreed that they will largely be holding meetings virtually save for situations where physical meetings are inevitable, according to the statement.

The 14-member Public Service Systems Review Taskforce, led by Vice-President Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, comprises different professionals such as academicians and lawyers.

Some of the members in the team are former secretary to Treasury Professor Ronald Mangani, professors Nyovani Madise, Ngeyi Kanyongolo, Wiseman Chijere Chirwa, Dr. Henry Chingaipe, private practice lawyer John Suzi Banda and former principal secretary in the Office of the Vice-President responsible for Public Sector Reforms Management Nwazi Mnthambala.

Political and social commentator Humphreys Mvula also said the team brings hopes that it will deliver the demands because so far the Vice-President has been seen to be an "action-oriented person".

President Chakwera mandated Vice President Chilima to form and lead the taskforce on February 14 amidst a public outcry over the embezzlement of the K6.2 Billion meant for Covid 19 but was largely used for allowances for government officials.

More From: Nyasa Times

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