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MPs seek answers on ‘suspicious funding’

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Members of Parliament (MPs) from the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) on Monday demanded an explanation on the funding that the Treasury has allocated to 86 out of 193 constituencies.

Our sister paper, Malawi News, on Saturday unearthed a scheme in which MPs who supported the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP)-led administration in gunning down the Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills in December 2017 have received finding for projects in their constituencies.

Initially, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya wanted Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, to furnish the National Assembly with information on the said funding.

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Leader of Government Business, Kondwani Nankhumwa, then said Gondwe would do so in his budget review winding up speech.

But Gondwe did not tackle the issue in his winding up speech, prompting Leader of the PP in the House, Ralph Mhone, to remind Msowoya about the issue.

Gondwe said he could not tackle it in his speech as he felt some members were of the view that the issue needed his response while some did not feel so.

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The minister then said the question relates to the sum of rural development resources of K4 billion which has been divided into projects by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

“In the course of our reviewing the budget, we came across resources of that magnitude and we thought they should really go towards rural development and I asked my colleague, the Minister of Local Government, to find out how this could be used.

”What he did is that he went around asking Members of Parliament-” Gondwe said, attracting murmuring from some MPs.

“Some of you, probably, weren’t asked but he did ask and 86 of them or so were offered small [scale] projects in their constituencies. If we find to be not sufficient, we can call that first phase and we will come to you again. But the point that it is true; I don’t want to deny that. I have told you the reason why it came about. The reason is that we wanted the extra resources that we had to be used in rural areas,” Gondwe said, amidst disapproval.

When some MCP and PP MPs rose to express themselves on the issue, one of the beneficiaries of the funds, Uladi Mussa, rose to ask if it was appropriate for parliament to discuss the budgetary allocations when the essence of committee of supply was for Parliamentarians to do the same.

Msowoya allowed the issue to be discussed at committee of supply after Gondwe convinced him that the money in question is part of the allocations in the budget that the National Assembly is currently reviewing.

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