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More extravagance at Parliament

After spending K300 million on vehicles for the Speaker and his two deputies amidst an economic crisis the country is currently facing, The Daily Times can reveal more extravagance at the Malawi Parliament.

Among others, Parliament has so far spent millions of kwacha meant for committee meetings although no such meetings have so far taken place. In addition, Parliament has drained external travel funds for the members despite the fact that MPs have not travelled.

Furthermore, many of the Parliament’s departments have already spent more than the expected 25 percent of their allocations provided by Treasury in the first quarter of the financial year.

Meanwhile, Parliament has also asked Treasury to provide K1.2 billion to, among others, buy pool vehicles worth K90 million; to fund additional committee meetings at K401 million; to fund increased plenary meetings at K166 million and another K580 million to cover “extra burden imposed on Parliament by having to pay additional fuel for six months” for the legislators.

Although the 2015/2016 Parliament Budget document 019.00.

“That Treasury should consider allocating K90 million to the National Assembly to enable it to buy standard vehicles for the pool and to assist oversight work,” reads part of the document.

Asked on Saturday to explain the expenditures, Msowoya highlighted the Policy and Planning expenditure, arguing that it was to do with the formulation of a strategic plan, hence Parliament had to use the funds without necessarily being limited to the quarter target.

“Under Policy and Planning, there was development of strategic planning. We had to come to the end of it and so you spend immediately,” said Msowoya while referring the other questions to Financial Controller Chikondi Kachinjika.

However, Kachinjika asked for more time to organise his information.

“Let’s talk tomorrow [today]. It’s a tough year. Let me give you correct information tomorrow. But the expenditures are correct,” he said.

Asked to comment on Parliament’s extravagance, government spokesperson and Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango condemned Parliament for being insensitive to the current economic situation the country is facing and asked Parliament to justify some of the expenditure.

“This is very disappointing to say the least if it is true and it just vindicates me when I told Malawians that people in charge at Parliament do not care about Malawians but their interest is self enrichment and making sure that they live in comfort by offering each other obscene housing allowances and driving state-of-the-art vehicles as revealed by The Daily Times recently at the expense of struggling Malawians,” said Mhango.

Commenting on funding Parliament received for committee meetings but without holding such meetings, Mhango said: “Government has also received complaints from Members of Parliament about meetings that have not taken place due to alleged non-availability of resources yet Parliament received its full funding for the quarter from Treasury. Members of Parliament may have to quiz the leadership of the House as to why they have spent so much money on areas that are not crucial.”

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