By Deogratias Mmana:
A month after Malawi held the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) summit, government is yet to provide a budget expenditure report as it announced.
Ahead of the summit, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka promised that government would produce the report after the summit.
For the summit which took place in Lilongwe from August 9 to 18, government, among others, procured 20 vehicles.
The vehicles cost over K2 billion against a budget of K4 billion. The vehicles comprised Very Very Important Person (VVIP) vehicles and Very Important Person (VIP) vehicles.
Now exactly a month after the summit, where are the vehicles?
Spokesperson in the ministry, Rejoice Shumba, has told Malawi News that the vehicles are being kept at the premises of Plant Vehicles Hire and Engineering Services (PVHES) “and others are in use at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Shumba said the vehicles will be used throughout the period Malawi will chair the Sadc.
“As you may be aware, during the 41st Sadc Summit, Malawi assumed the Sadc Chairpersonship which will run from August 2021 to August 2022. The implication of this position is that Malawi will host more Sadc meetings for the period of one year.
“In this respect, the cars will be used for all Sadc and VVIP events even outside the Sadc activities that Malawi will host going forward,” said Shumba.
On the budget expenditure report, she said the ministry engaged sub committees on August 27, 2021 to present their reconciled expenditure reports.
“Currently, the subcommittees are submitting reconciled invoices and expenditures to the Ministry for consolidation. Once the consolidation is completed, the Ministry will audit the report before submitting to the National Audit Office (NAO) for final audit,” she said.
Shumba said once completed, the report will be made available to the public.
At a news conference on August 8, 2021, government announced a K4 billion budget for hosting the 41st Sadc Summit.
The news conference was addressed by Mkaka and Minister of Information Gospel Kazako.
The ministers said out of the K4 billion, K1.2 billion would be used for operations. They did not disclose the amount for the new 20 vehicles.
But Malawi News established that government was in touch with Imperial Motors Limited to supply 10 VVIP vehicles at K1.049 billion and Toyota Malawi for the VIP vehicles at about K980 million.
Economist Collen Kaluwa said then that the purchase of the new vehicles was a scheme for some government officials to loot public resources.
“This could be another hoax to defraud Malawian resources because Sadc has a secretariat which does fund such meetings,” Kaluwa said in an interview.