Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda, has waived off scathing remarks from opposition legislators in National Assembly who are demanding her immediate resignation in the wake of the alleged mismanagement of K6.2 billion COVID-19 funds saga.
While responding to questions from Members of Parliament after giving an update on various issues concerning COVID-19, Chiponda faced staunch opposition from Former Minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda, who categorically asked her to step down saying she has failed.
Chaponda’s remarks echoed the statement made by AFORD party representative in the house, Yeremia Chihana, who asked President Chakwera to sack the minister who is also the Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
Chihana commended Chakwera for taking a bold step to clear the rubble in the ongoing audit query by firing Dr. John Phuka who co-chaired the Presidential Task Force and interdicting many controlling officers having failed to produce substantial financial reports.
However, he implored the President, to go a mile further by firing Chiponda to pave way for a smooth audit query.
Speaking on the sidelines after adjournment of the House, Chiponda claimed that she is an honest person with a clear conscious thus she will not succumb to any pressure.
She further said, she does not collect any money from the Presidential Task Force just like other ministers in the committee for they are already entitled to other ministerial benefits.
“All cabinet Ministers in the taskforce do not get any allowances whenever we are meeting. Usually we meet once per week but sometimes twice depending on emerging issues. We already have fuel, airtime and accommodation.”
“Parliament is an arm of government with all the powers to summon anybody. I challenge them to do an oversight whether they will go to the Office of President and Cabinet or Department of Disaster Management Affairs, which is to their discretion. As you are aware, we are still doing an investigation into the fraud. If it happens that I am on the wrong side, then appropriate steps will follow,” she said.
Earlier this week, President Chakwera gave a 30-day ultimatum for an audit query on how billions of kwacha meant for the fight against Covid-19 where devoured in what been described as a presumably allowance galore.
Meanwhile, at least a dozen officers from DODMA who were arrested last week over the same issue are currently answering charges of fraud in court.