CHRR Demands “ATI” Operationalization
Amid widespread reports of miss procurement, corruption and over expenditure of COVID-19 funds by government, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation CHRR is demanding that government should operationalize the Access to Information ACT to ensure transparency and Accountability in its expenditure.
In February 2017, President Peter Mutharika assented to the ATI Law which the administrator Malawi Human rights Commission, certified was ready for use.
CHRR acting Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa told Zodiak Online the current state of affairs leaves room for corruption and looting of the COVID-19 funds that government and some developmental partners have been channeling in, towards the fight against further spread of the coronavirus.
“We have received numerous anecdotal reports of corruption, dubious offering of contracts, miss procurement and over expenditure through hefty allowances that ministers who were in the disbanded special cabinet committee on coronavirus were pocketing. This is why we are demanding that the Access to Information, ATI law be put to use.” said Kaiyatsa.
Kaiyatsa hopes this will ensure prudence, transparency and accountability in the usage of the billions of Malawi Kwacha set aside for the fight against COVID-19.
Last month, a consortium of CSO’s led by Moses Mkandawire of Church and Society in the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia trading under the banner National Anti-Corruption Alliance (NACA) asked government to initiate stringent measures to ensure that public and donor funds in the fight against the COVID19 are prudently used.
However, government spokesperson Mark Botomani insists the covid-19 basket is not being mishandled.
“Minister of Finance and Economic Planning will present in parliament the expenditure of this resources that are being spend using Finance Management act, Malawians have to be assured that these resources are protected,” said Botomani.
On the ATI law Botomani who is also minister of information responsible for the operationalization ACT said the ministry of justice is finalizing the processes to ensure that the law is implemented soon.
For three years different stakeholders including the Media Institute of Southern Africa MISA Malawi chapter have been pushing government to operationalize the Access to Information Law.