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DPP penned over parastatal money

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Five civil society organisations (CSOs) have officially written the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), notifying it of the impending legal proceedings over the money which the party allegedly obtained from the country’s parastatals towards a Blue Night event.

The event, held in Lilongwe recently, was aimed at raising money for various party activities.

The CSOs include Youth and Society, Centre for the Development of People, Church and Society Programme, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and Human Rights Consultative Committee.

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The letter, filed by their legal counsel Wesley Mwafulirwa, warns DPP that the conduct is criminal in nature and violates Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act which prescribes against private citizens’ inducement of public officers to abuse their positions.

The CSOs have given the party a seven-day ultimatum to furnish the public with information about the illicit transactions.

“Forcing public institutions to fund a party event is illegal within the country’s current legal framework, every public expenditure needs to be authorised by a necessary Appropriation Act unless it is a statutory expenditure,” reads in part the letter which is in our position.

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Section 76 of the Public Finance Management Act provides that funds held by statutory bodies must only be applied for the purposes specified in the relevant empowering Acts.

The rights bodies, however, have reiterated their stand of asking DPP to repay the money to the public institutions which were intimidated into making the payments without neither legal nor ethical justification.

Mwafulirwa also outlined the treatment that his clients have suffered at the hands of the ruling party from the time they started pursuing the matter.

He writes: “Our clients further inform us that they have made several attempts to amicably resolve these issues with your office but all the attempts have been snubbed with derogatory mordancy.”

Should the CSOs deem it fit, the legal counsel has said some of the statutory corporations and public bodies that made the unwarranted payments may be added as parties to the case.

DPP Secretary General, Greselder Jeffrey, whose office the letter has been addressed to, declined to comment on the letter and referred The Daily Times to party spokesperson Franscis Kasaila and Central Region Vice-President Hetherwick Ntaba.

Ntaba also could not be drawn to comment, saying: “The SG [Greselder Jeffrey] has not talked to me on the issue and I have not seen the letter in question.”

However, Ntaba is on record to have branded the CSO’s calls as ‘rubbish’.

In recent weeks, DPP has come under heavy criticism for soliciting K5 million from Blantyre City Council and Lilongwe Water Board, respectively, and K3.5 million from Mzuzu City Council among other public institutions.

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