Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba has warned duty bearers handling cash transfers and maize distribution under the Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme (LS-FIRP) against corruption, manipulation and forceful sharing of cash assistance and maize.
Kalemba said the tendency leaves vulnerable households food insecure because the rations and cash given are calculated to support the household for the period provided for.
Kalemba said this during interface meetings with District Commissioners for Salima, Nkhotakota, Nkhatabay and Mzuzu City to backstop preparedness for both the LS-FIRP and Emergency Response programmes.
He referred to what had happened in Balaka, Chikwawa and Phalombe where the World Food Programme (WFP) suspended the cash transfer exercise over claims that there were ghost beneficiaries in the beneficiary’s registry.
He said the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) will not condone lawlessness of individuals who abuse government resources by taking advantage of the vulnerable people who government and other humanitarian partners are helping to cushion hunger in their communities.
“The investigations that were done in conjunction with WFP established that there were ghost beneficiaries in the beneficiary’s registry which resulted in intended beneficiaries to be left out. It was also established that some chiefs and councilors force beneficiaries to share what they receive with them.
“Government is going to take stern actions to bring to book anyone found abusing the two exercises and the police should not spare anyone found practicing these malpractices,” he said.
He added that the department and other stakeholders are putting in place mechanisms that will empower communities to be self-reliant and food secure.
He said this will assist government to reduce provision of relief assistance and in the process curb the malpractices that are prevalent in most communities.
The District Commissioners and Chief Executive that were met in these councils committed to personally ensure that the response programmes are successful.
On his part, District Commissioner (DC) for Nkhatabay, Rodgers Newa pledged support saying those that will be reported to have committed such crimes will not be protected.
“I will personally be available to supervise these two initiatives and my office will not condone mismanagement of relief items and resources provided for the implementation of the response programmes,” said Newa.
Mzuzu Chief Executive Officer, Gomezgani Nyasulu conquered with Kalemba saying many people take advantage of such exercises and reap off targeted beneficiaries.
Nyasulu said government's commitment to end corruption should be everybody’s responsibility and his council will make sure that no corrupt practices take place in the programmes.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) projected that 3.8 million people will be food insecure hence government through DoDMA and other donor communities responding by providing maize and cash transfers to the affected.