COVID-19 Funds Looted

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Some seniors government officials are believed to be looting funds meant for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic after Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance George Guvamatanga this week wrote to directors raising an alarm over misuse of funds.

Guvamatanga wrote to directors and other top-ranking officials advising them that only sanctioned travel should be allowed to draw domestic allowances, while the rest should go to deserving people in the country’s COVID-19 response which had been sustained, largely by donors.

“Treasury has noted with concern an increase in payment runs requesting for funds for processing domestic allowances, narrated as COVID-19 payments for staff on duty during the lockdown period,” reads Guvamatanga’s letter.

“As you are aware of pronouncement of lockdown throughout Statutory instrument 81 and 82 clearly called for mitigatory measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and involved limited or no movement across cities and towns and hence reduces domestic travel expenses.”

He said the resources were now being diverted for allowances instead of fighting the virus.

“However, line ministries are now prioritising payment of allowances despite the call by Treasury in its later dated March 20, requesting accounting officers to identify none wage savings from their respective votes to be ring-fenced for coronavirus interventions,” he wrote.

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