Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, faces a probe by Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of the House on his conduct in the controversial disposal of 100 tractors under India line of credit.
Msowoya is among 68 other senior government officials, civil servants and businesspersons who purchased the farm machinery at give-away prices, according to findings of an investigation by office of Ombudsman.
Pac Chairperson, Alekeni Menyani, confirmed in an interview that Msowoya being head of an institution of government that also authorised the loan for the tractors, knew very well that the inputs were meant to benefit poor farmers.
Menyani was non-committal on apparent growing rivalry between his committee and the Speaker as evidenced by Msowoya’s recent sentiments that Pac members seem not to know their oversight functions for backtracking to probe wealth of former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
“I believe the move is aimed at intimidating me as chair due to events in the tractor-gate where he is a beneficiary of the tractors that were dubiously obtained from Capital Hill and his name is at the top of the list of the documents that have been presented to the committee for investigation,
“I will steer the committee to the bottom of the tractor-gate scandal without looking at who is involved or is from which party. Malawians are paying back $50 million for a loan whose beneficiaries are rich powerful politicians like the MCP Vice President and Speaker of National Assembly,” he said.
But in a separate interview, Msowoya said he has nothing to fear or hide and that the investigations have the blessings of his office as Speaker.
“In as far as the issue of tractors is concerned, Pac is free to probe anybody and any suspicious dealings including the Speaker. I was a businessman responding to an advert of the sale. I have no fear and nothing to hide. The Pac Chair is only doing his job to follow up on the alleged maladministration of public funds,” he said.
Dedza East MP, Juliana Lunguzi, moved a motion in the House, aiming at reversing irregularities in the dubious sale of the tractors.
“Now that Parliament has approved that a thorough investigation be conducted, we are looking forward to donors and CSOs to fund us for this hearing,” Lunguzi said.
Some of the beneficiaries of the tractors include ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokesperson and Minister of Foreign Affairs Francis Kasaila, Director of State Residences Peter Mukhito, Principal Secretaries Ben Botolo and Samuel Madula, former vice president Khumbo Kachali, Chairperson of Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Rhino Chiphiko, Chauncy Simwaka, Doro Mataya, Godfrey Ching’oma, Wilfred Lipita and Muli Enterprises.
Earlier last month, Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani refused to make a public apology for duping Malawians in the controversial sale.
The Ombudsman issued a 30-day ultimatum which expired on November 13 that Mangani should apologise to the nation through a press statement which must be published in the media for three consecutive weeks.
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