Founder of Follow the Money International Hamzat Lawal has challenged the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to launch an investigation on how government used COVID-19 resources and how it benefitted the poor and other individuals in Malawi.
Follow the Money is a Pan African project in seven countries promoting transparency in public spending.
According to the organization over $600 million from individuals, multilateral agencies and governments committed their research towards the global pandemic in Malawi on COVID-19 Transparency and accountability Project (CTAP) in the health sector.
Study findings under the CTAP banner were commissioned as part of a civil society organisations effort to bolster citizens’ engagement and promote change in the ways government use public resources.
He therefore said it is important to commend the Bureau for its operations but further challenged it to launch an investigation on how these resources were used.
“For us this is important to build public trust and public confidence and also ensure that Malawi and other African countries can prepare for the next pandemic because right now the world is dealing with Monkey pox. So it’s not just about COVID-19 and Monkey pox; but how we can strengthen public health care and how better service delivery particularly in rural remote communities, can be enjoying knowing that corruption plays a very deep rooted negative role in utilization of public resources.
”We think that it’s important that the Malawian Anti-Corruption Bureau plays a critical role here. We know this is also a human rights issue because we know that today in Malawi we have people with disabilities who cannot access public healthcare and knowing that public health care is a human rights issue, we hope that the Human Rights Commission would also look into this matter and ensure that people are held to account and justice prevail”
Malawi is one of the countries which made a commitment to the Abuja Declaration that 15 percent of its budget would go towards healthcare, but due to lack of funding and mismanagement, a lot of citizens are not enjoying healthcare interventions.
This is evidenced by dilapidated structures, lack of manpower and inadequate medical supplies.
He stated that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malawi and Africa, most nations were brought on their knees arguing that economies cannot be realized if there is no investment in healthcare systems.
The Follow the money founder pledged to work closely with civil society organizations and the media to attain a strengthened open government partnership in Malawi striving towards a national action plan which is timely with citizens holding them accountable
He dared authorities to make sure that public resources are used for public good and made a call to action for the leadership to show decisive actions and commitment in providing direction in its zeal to fight corruption.