LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has removed Dr John Phuka as chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and named Dr.
Chalamira Nkhoma as the new co-chair as well as fired Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Commissioner Mr James Chiusiwa following grave maladministration of funds by the Coordination Cluster of the Presidential Taskforce.
Chakwera announced this during a live television address to the nation on Sunday from Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
Said Chakwera:“Both DODMA and the Covid-19 Taskforce require strong leadership, and my office will be naming a new Commissioner for DODMA soon, while for the Covid-19 Taskforce, I have named Dr. Chalamira Nkhoma as the new co-chair.”
Phuka returns to his job at College of Medicine ,a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), as Dean of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine.
The President said Nkhoma is a renowned epidemiologist with vast experience and expressed confidence that he will ably lead the Taskforce.
He also disclosed that he will be strengthening the vigilance of PresidentialTaskforce on Covid-19 by adding to it representatives of Civil Society Organizations and watchdog bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Malawi Human Rights Commission, saying all of whom have already shown great initiative in wanting to be part of the solution.
The Malawi leader also disclosed that all Cluster heads have been suspended immediately pending full forensic audit and full independent investigation by police.
Chakwera said: ‘I have made these decisions to address accountability lapses at the helm of all clusters, at the helm of DODMA, and at the helm of the Covid-19 Taskforce. However, there remains the need to address alleged elements of criminal conduct by those who abused or misappropriated funds. “
The President said audit and criminal investigation will be done independently.
“As enshrined in the Constitution, these are matters for independent law enforcement agents and forensic auditors, who will do their work independently to pin down the culprits. Whether the independent audit and police investigation find the culprits of fraud, abuse, and misappropriation to be individuals at District Councils, or at DODMA, or at District Health Offices, they will be prosecuted accordingly, and I trust our independent Judiciary will do its part to mete out justice.
He stressed those found to have committed crimes will be met with full arm of the law.
Chakwera used the weekly updates to inform the nation of the actions his administration has taken in the last seven days to save the lives of those infected with Covid-19 and to stop the spread of the virus.