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National Audit Office audits Malawi Young Pioneers list

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After arguments and counter-arguments on what is delaying the disbursement of K1.6 billion-pension for former Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) officers, the government has discredited the list of claimants submitted by the officers’ representatives.

Secretary to the Treasury, who serves in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Ben Botolo, indicates in a press release issued this week titled ‘Status of Payment of Terminal Benefits to Ex-Malawi Young Pioneers’, that ghosts have infiltrated the list of claimants.

“As part of the process [of paying terminal benefits of ex- MYPs], the National Audit Office (Nao) is currently undertaking a verification exercise on all claimants. This is done in order to ensure that all would-be beneficiaries are bonafide ex-MYP members. The exercise is taking a bit longer because the government wants to make sure that the process is done in a more orderly manner to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2012 and 2013, when some unscrupulous individuals illegally benefitted from a similar exercise because the process was rushed through.

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“From the preliminary findings, the current list of claimants contains duplicates, ghosts and those who are already receiving monthly pension. Almost three-quarters of work has been done by Nao and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development will undertake to pay the bonafide members their dues as soon as the process is thoroughly examined and completed,” Botolo says.

However, ex-MYPs Task force leader, Franco Chilemba, maintained yesterday that the government should find no more excuses for delaying the disbursement of their K1.6 billion.

Chilemba said the government promised to pay the ex-MYPs after the passing of the 2017/18 National Budget, hence there is no need to be shifting goal posts.

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The development comes when the group’s vigil, as one way of forcing the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development to release their funds, has entered its second week.

But the government has stood its ground, with Treasury spokesperson, Alfred Kutengule, telling our sister paper, The Daily Times, on Thursday that there was no specific deadline for the exercise because the office was looking at a number of files.

“We can’t have a specific date because we are looking at over 2, 600 files and, according to the update, they have done almost half; so, it might take two or three weeks or so. But there is that commitment,” Kutengule said.

MYP was disbanded in 1993.

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