President Lazarus Chakwera has warned that there will be no sacred cows when handling Covid fund looters, as he has fired the Labour Minister.
Ken Kandodo has become the first cabinet minister to face the chop after borrowing over K600 000 from the Covid funds which he only repaid last week.
In his last night’s address, a visibly angry Chakwera said he would not keep Kandodo in his cabinet because he diverted the Covid money for personal use.
“As for the Minister of Labour, who was named by the audit report as having spent Covid funds amounting to K613 thousand on his allowances for a foreign trip, I have dropped him from my Cabinet accordingly,” Chakwera said.
He however stressed that Kanndondo still has to face the law although he returned the money as his use of the funds left a gap during the time the funds were diverted.
“Even though the Minister has since returned the money, his usage of the funds means that the money was unavailable for its intended purpose when it was needed most,” the President emphasized.
Law enforcers have been busy with bringing to book the public servants that have been mentioned in the report.
“Fourteen have been arrested. They include: Mr. Prince Mtelela, Administration Officer in the Office of President and Cabinet; Mrs. Pudenciana Makalamba, Commissioner, Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services; Mr. Mzati Mkolokosa, former Director of Information and Mr. Martin Mainja of Pest Chem 1B,” disclosed National Police Spokesperson James Kadadzera in a police statement issued on Sunday night.
As of midday today, the number of arrests had gone up to 22.
Meanwhile, Legal, political and governance commentators have commended the arrest of the Covid-19 fund looters, with a call for swift delivery of justice.
A legal practitioner who is the Executive Director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi believes there will be no selective justice and that everyone will face the wrath of the law.
Dzonzi’s hopes are shared by governance commentator Victor Chipofya, who is appealing for equal application of justice to those implicated in the matter regardless of their ranks.
The report done by the National Audit Office named scores of public officers and individuals involved in dubious allowances and payments.
Meanwhile president Chakwera has stressed that his government will ensure that those found to have had a hand in the misappropriation of the Covid-19 fight funds pay back the money.
“If the finger of evidence points to you as one of the thieves who stole Covid money for saving lives while hundreds of our people were dying of Covid, you are going to prison. On top of that, we will use the relevant laws to ensure that you pay back what you stole. Mubweza!”.