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Clement Chiwaya backs Goodall Gondwe in K4 billion

Second Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Clement Chiwaya, Thursday backed Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe’s K4 billion payout, saying Gondwe was acting within his mandate by initiating distribution of the money among Members of Parliament (MPs) without the approval of the august House.

Chiwaya, who is Mangochi Central legislator, was speaking at Mangochi Stadium when President Peter Mutharika launched the Mlambe One-stop Service Centre which was refurbished as part of the government’s public sector reforms.

He sai d , a s F inance Minister, Gondwe has powers to spend a certain amount of money without the approval of Parliament, arguing that the K4 billion falls under that category because the money was meant to assist people across the country.

“Your Excellency, you know that some of us are not allowed to comment when we are in Parliament. But if I had an opportunity, I could have supported the Appropriation Bill to have the money spent on development projects that benefit Malawians,” Chiwaya said.

He added that those accusing Gondwe of wrong-doing are enemies of development who want to deny Malawians, such as those in his constituency, a chance to have improved infrastructure development in their areas.

“If you say Gondwe broke the law, which law are you referring to? Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country receive about K500 billion every year, but nobody holds you accountable; so, it is better that you stick to your job,” he said.

Chiwaya’s sentiments come days after Secretary to the Treasury, Ben Botolo, also told the CSOs, calling for Gondwe’s resignation, to stop harassing the Finance Minister, whom he described as “the old man”.

But Centre for the Development of People Executive Director, Gift Trapence, has said CSOs are consulting on the possibility of suing Gondwe for approving t h e expenditure without Parliament’s nod.

Commenting on Mlambe One-stop Centre, Mutharika said the facility is one of development projects his government wants to give the people of Malawi.

He said, in the near future, the government would be opening more one-stop centres in 10 districts, starting with Blantyre and Mzimba.

Among other facilities, the one stop centre has Immigration, Road Traffic, Post Office, Registrar General and Malawi Revenue Authority desks.

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