Mzimba,Tempers flared during Mzimba full council meeting on Thursday when councilors accused the district’s Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) IV’s Project Officer, Manuel Mkomwa, of ill-treating beneficiaries of the Public Works Programme.
It was established during the meeting that beneficiaries under the programme who each receive K14000 after successfully working as manual labourers on projects such as road maintenance are facing challenges to access their pay.
Mkomwa is blocking payments of many people who come to his office. We are fed up with this tendency and we are going to deal with him,” warned Thobias Mvula, Councilor for Kafukule Ward.
He then asked the officer to consider taking the payments to the workers’ respective areas arguing some of them travel from long distances such as Kafukule where transport costs up to K12, 000.
In reaction to the accusations, Mkomwa said some people would in the past take payments on behalf of their friends only to discover that they had not been sent by fellow beneficiaries hence the strictness.
“MASAF has changed the way of doing business because of such abuses. I need to verify what’s on the ground before endorsing any payment. There are new guidelines which include production of relevant documents such as an Identity Card, a letter from Area development Committee or police,” he said.
The Council’s District Commissioner, Thomas Chirwa, said there is need to share information with the communities and stakeholders whenever there is a change in policies.
“I once got angry after hearing that people were being sent back without getting their money. Some spent three days and at one point, I had to use my personal money for their accommodation and food,” Chirwa said.
Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA