Parliament Friday adjourned sine die its second meeting of the 47th Session, with Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera calling on the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate issues surrounding the K4 billion allocation to 86 MPs, saying government has been caught red-handed trying to commit a crime.
Speaking before the House rose yesterday, Chakwera demanded further action on how the allocation of the money was done, adding that Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local government Kondwani Nankhumwa must be fully investigated by ACB as well as relevant committees.
“We demand that the actions of the Finance Minister and the Minister of Local Government be fully investigated, not only by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, but also by the relevant committee of this House to determine, with evidence, the nature and extent of their wrong-doing, and whether they took these actions on their own or on orders from the President,” Chakwera said. He added: “Secondly, we demand that the two ministers in question, out of respect of the Office of the President and this House, should tender their resignation. Thirdly, since Malawians are suffering from poorly funded and resourced public services and programme, we demand that the DPP should use its newly discovered talent of finding money in mysterious places to find more money to complete projects it guaranteed in its 20 promises made in its manifesto but has largely yet to fulfil…”
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president also said it is no secret that government, through the Finance Minister, was caught red-handed in the act of flouting procedures and violating the law in its acquisition and distribution of the 4 billion Kwacha earmarked for development of the whole nation.
He cited five decisions, which included; government hiding the source of the funding, making contradictory statements about the source of the funding, unilaterally deciding that the development funds be allocated to less than half of the country’s constituencies and its decision to hide the criteria it used to allocate the funds, as clear examples.
“This has left us Malawians justified in our suspicion that the allocation was a kickback to some parliamentarians who are more concerned about keeping their seats than keeping their integrity,” Chakwera said.
When quizzed on why they allowed government to later distribute the funds across the board , the Leader of Opposition said they acted to make sure that the money is used as it is intended, not as a trophy to reward political exploitation, but a resource for the development of all Malawians, “We were in the valley of decision in that time we said it is better for the owners of the funds which are Malawians to benefit everywhere because wherever they got the money, if its tax payer’s money, then the owners must have the money,” he said But Gondwe insisted that they followed procedures and the process of identifying the funds was done transparently.
“The part that I played was to decide that amount should go rural development. I explained it Friday. Since it was rural development, I called my colleague in the ministry, and explained about the availability of the funds, same with the journalists, even to the House. You may ask me all the questions I am available. As far as I am concerned I have done this process according to the law and transparently,” he said.
Gondwe said he thought the House had understood the matter following several explanations on the matter but later said he will be obliged to respond to MPs only if they seek more clarification on the matter.
“I am available to be asked questions by anybody inside here or outside but it must be Members of parliament to whom I am obliged to give answers. I’m not going to bother with journalists anymore,” he said On his part, Nankhumwa described the call for his resignation as just politics.
“You don’t rule out controversies, disagreement where two or more people meet, especially in politics. You know Parliament is a political house. It is a gathering of people with different political affiliations, people with different political ideals. My political ideology cannot be the same as some members, like those in the Malawi Congress party, People’s Party, Alliance for Democracy,” he said.
He added: “In such a situation, the House is prone to some challenges. But I am glad that when such differences arise, we are able to talk through contact and dialogue.”
He also highlighted that there is an improvement in the way discussions are being done, which are to the general good of Malawi.
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