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President Fires Minister Over COVID-19 Funds

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Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has fired Labour Minister Ken Kandodo for diverting $800 worth of COVID-19 funds to pay for a government trip, part of a wider embezzlement scandal.

In a televised address to the nation, Chakwera says the minister was named in an audit report as having listed the funds in his allowances for the travel to South Africa.

“I have dropped him from my cabinet accordingly. Even though the minister has since returned the money, his usage of the funds means that the money was unavailable for its intended purpose when it was needed most.”

AFP reports that Chakwera also ordered the arrest of scores of civil servants implicated in plundering $7.8 million of COVID-19 funds.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, has recorded 34,000 cases of COVID-19, with 1,138 deaths, including those of two cabinet ministers.

Its under-resourced public hospitals were overwhelmed at the peak of the pandemic.

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