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K92 billion report demos set for July 20

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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have re-scheduled national-wide demonstrations over the audit report on the K92 billion public funds, that went unaccounted for during the first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, to July 20.

The group is expected to present a petition to President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu and Sanjika Palaces in Lilongwe and Blantyre respectively, over the contentious audit report.

In the northern region, the petition will be presented to Mzuzu City Council according to the programme.

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Ironically, in 2011 mass demonstrations were also held on July 20 in protest over former president Bingu Mutharika’s ‘authoritarian’ rule and atleast 20 people were killed.

One of the organisers Billy Mayaya told The Daily Times in an interview on Friday that the demos were shifted from July 7 because of independence day celebrations.

“We were not given a go ahead by the police and now we have settled for July 20. We hope Malawians will come out in their large numbers and express their disgust,” he said.

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Mayaya added that the only language government would understand this time around is to take to the streets, considering the “hide and seek” games that the DPP has been playing on the issue with MPs during the just ended parliament meeting.

According to the programme, demonstrators in Mzuzu will converge at Katoto and proceed to read and deliver a petition at Mzuzu City Council.

Said Mayaya: “In Lilongwe, we will march from KCH to parliament roundabout and proceed to Kamuzu Palace where a petition will be read out and handed over to the President. Similarly in Blantyre demonstrators will march from old town hall to Sanjika Palace where a petition will be read out and delivered to a representative of government.”

The future of the report being scrutinised by Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament is also uncertain as a tentative programme by National Assembly shows that parliamentary committees will start holding their meetings in December this year.

Pac Chairperson Alekeni Menyani said in an earlier interview that funds have also not been allocated for the exercise, a development he said puts into question as to whether the executive is indeed serious on having the contentious report scrutinised and eventually debated by the House.

The demos come against a background of a recently released data analysis report which Members of Parliament have described as “fake” and “irregular”.

However, The National Audit Office (NAO) and the Germany Embassy, which financed the audit exercise to the tune of €250,000, have come out in defence of the document, arguing that it has not been doctored.

The 52-page data report, titled ‘Final Analytics Report: Reconstruction of the Malawi Government Cashbook for purposes of further investigations, found that at least K577 billion cannot be accounted for, according to the examined records for the period between January 2009 and December 2014.

 

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