MALAWI CORRUPTION: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has reported officials it accused of misusing out-of-station allowances to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), both the ministry and the anti-graft body have confirmed.
The development comes five months after Principal Secretary in the ministry, MacPhail Magwira, accused some of the members of staff who were agitating for his removal of misusing K20 million from the ministry’s coffers by offering themselves questionable allowances. He vowed that the ministry would do everything to recover the funds.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Rebecca Phwitiko, said in a written response that the ministry had taken action on the issue.
“The matter in which some members of staff in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology misused about 20 million kwacha in a fake out of duty station allowances scam was reported to the Anti corruption bureau,” Phwitiko said.
Dismissing fears the issue could merely be a tip of the iceberg, Phwitiko said the ministry had instituted measures to safeguard resources allocated to the ministry.
“You may wish to know that the new ‘centralised system of spending’, which requires that payments go through the controlling officer (Secretary for Education, Science and Technology) for approval, has helped to ensure that all funds paid out are indeed used for the intended purpose,” Phwitiko said.
Senior public relations officer at the ACB, Egrita Ndala, confirmed that the Bureau had received a complaint lodged by the Ministry of Education.
“The Anti-Corruption Bureau is conducting investigations in relation to the issue of allowances at the Ministry of Education. The investigation is progressing well,” Ndala said.
Ndala could, however, not shed more light on the issues, saying “the Bureau cannot discuss more on the issue for fear of jeopardising the investigation process”.
The Ministry was plagued by confusion earlier this year, as some members of staff took industrial action against their employer. Among other things, they demanded the immediate sacking of Magwira.
Magwira told The Sunday Times at the time that he was targeted because he had instituted measures aimed at fighting abuse of financial resources as well as promoting financial prudence in the ministry.
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