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Goodall Gondwe defies Parliament

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, has failed to provide the details of all loans that the government has been obtaining for development projects since 1994, The Daily Times has learnt.

A motion by Member of Parliament (MP) for Dedza East, Juliana Lunguzi, which was adopted by Parliament over four months ago, compelled Gondwe to provide the loan details within 90 days so that Parliament could analyse how they were utilised.

Our inquiries at Parliament Secretariat and from relevant committees found that the loan details have not been provided, effectively implying that the motion has been defied.

Assistant Clerk of Parliament responsible for Protocol and Public Relations, Leonard Mengezi, also confirmed that the secretariat does not have the details of the loans.

Early this week, Gondwe claimed that his ministry had submitted to the secretariat the loan details as compelled by the Parliament motion.

In a separate interview on Wednesday, Chairperson of the Government Assurances Committee of Parliament Harry Mkandawire lamented the tendency by Cabinet ministers of disrespecting Parliament orders.

“The motion was indeed passed but we don’t know anything about where the details of the loan are. The minister has not submitted them to Parliament. We will go back to the minister and request that he complies with the motion within a specific period.

“Afterwards, we will take the matter to Parliament so that honourable members can deliberate on the way forward. This will happen whether the details have been provided or not,” Mkandawire said.

The matter of Cabinet ministers not respecting parliamentary standing orders also came up in the august House on Wednesday when the lawmakers were debating a report by the Education Committee which was tabled last year and has since been adopted.

Lilongwe Mapuyu South MP Joseph Njobvuyalema observed that according to Standing Order 186, Cabinet ministers are supposed to provide written responses to committee reports within 14 days after they have been adopted.

“But no single minister has come back with a response as is required by our own standing orders. This is out order because these are our own laws which have to be respected,” Njobvuyalema said.

However, Chairperson of Commissions and Statutory Corporations Lilian Patel stated that her committee had received a response from a responsible minister after a report had been adopted.

Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya, who moderated deliberations on Wednesday, agreed that after consulting the table clerks, he had come to understand that Cabinet ministers are indeed supposed to provide responses through the National Assembly Secretariat.

Meanwhile, Lunguzi has indicated that she would take the loan details matter to Parliament where she would seek Gondwe’s position.

During debate on the motion, Gondwe said he was ready to provide all the loans details from as early as 1964. However, in a later interview, he downplayed the Parliament resolution, saying the ministry had no resources to undertake such a project.

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