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Don’t abuse COVID-19 fund

Don't abuse COVID-19 fund

Keorapetse calls for independent COVID-19 relief fund management

Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse has called for the establishment of an Independent body to oversee the COVID -19 Relief Fund.

When debating the Emergency Powers (COVID -19) (Amendment) (n0.4) Regulations 2020, in parliament on Wednesday, Keorapetse recommended for government to establish an independent body to administer the COVID-19 fund instead of having the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka as its overseer.

In his address during the Emergency Parliamentary meeting at Boipuso hall, Keorapetse said that the current system was likely to create room for corruption and abuse of the fund.

“My worry is that corruption, fiscal and revenue crimes, mismanagement, unethical governance are most likely to thrive under the current secretive environment,” Keorapetse said.

The MP warned that COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse to avoid transparency and accountability and worse, to commit acts of graft.

“We can’t afford to shelve democracy, especially the important oversight role of Parliament. We are worried about certain companies and procurements that raise suspicions,” he said.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change MP said that there is need for proper governance and accountability structures on Covid-19 Fund citing Malawi where a retired Judge has been made Chairperson of the Fund, and South Africa where an independent Board has been appointed to manage the fund as examples to emulate.

“Here the Executive dominates everything, the Fund here is absolutely controlled by Government and it is not good for transparency. We need to know why certain companies are preferred over others. We want to know what is so special about them to be given direct appointments for tenders,” he concluded.

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