Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Blame Game Ensues In Malawi’s Health Scandal

Written by  Written By Jayne KAONGA Mar 15, 2017

Government officials are pushing blame to each other and refusing to take responsibility in a multi-million Kwacha scandal that has been revealed at the Ministry of Health.

Up to MK 900 Million Kwacha has disappeared from the Centre for Disease Control - CDC project that was meant to combat HIV and Aids in the country.

The multimillion Kwacha donation had been provided for by the United States government.

Officials at the Ministry of Health are failing to come up with clear answers following an investigation by Capital FM.  

The investigation goes back to 2015 when Capital Radio exposed an abuse of the funds.

The ministry was forced to carry out an audit that confirmed an abuse of over MK 2 billion, which was later brought down to MK 900 million.

As a result of the audit, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) was forced to establish a committee whose aim was to make sure that officials who were implicated would be investigated by the Anti Corruption Bureau and the police.    

What has now happened is that key officials who were allegedly implicated in the scandal have been forced to take early retirements instead, while others have been deployed to other departments of government.

This has raised suspicions of top officials being shielded in a bid to cover up this latest scandal in government. 

When asked about these developments, officials were evasive in their responses.

The topmost official in the ministry, for example, is the Minister of Health; Peter Kumpalame the ministry has done its homework and completed investigations on the matter and what is left now is for the others to do their job.

Kumpalume referred Capital FM to the Principal Secretary for Health, Chimwemwe Banda; he added that the matter is no longer in the hands of the ministry.

Banda said she was in New York and opted for dialogue via email.

Other officials in the ministry have since revealed that they were being intimidated over the scandal, with one of them claiming that he had received death threats.

When this reporter quizzed Kumpalume over the threats, he claimed to have not been made aware of the matter adding that the police are in a better position to answer on that.

The Minister however was not forthcoming on whether he would actually call in the police to investigate the threats.

In an earlier interview, Public Affairs Officer of the US embassy in Malawi Edward Monster criticised the authorities for not bringing to book those implicated in the scandal.


Monster went on further to stress that the US wants to see an ending to the embezzlement of funds meant to assist the country’s health system.

A few years back the country lost the trust of countries which assist it in financial aid due to corruption and this latest revelation is only painting a gloomier picture of the warm heart of Africa.

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