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Parliamentary committees are being extravagant

The insistence by two committees of Parliament to go and probe one suspected fraud at our embassy in Kenya only confirms the fear that ordinary Malawians have long expressed: our MPs are only interested in enriching themselves.

For starters, the Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Alekeni Menyani and his counterpart on the International Relations Committee, Alex Major, have admitted that they are asking government for funding to enable the committees fly to Kenya for the exercise.

Major justifies burning the candle on both ends by saying his committee will be looking at issues of corporate governance while Menyani’s committee will be tracking the funds.

We wonder whether these parliamentarians are listening to their voice. Because if they did, they would have realised that they are talking nonsense. Such kind of disdain is not supposed to be displayed before Malawians who are worried as to how they will survive the looming hunger.

To add salt to injury, these are committees that are expected to temper government’s insatiable appetite for unabated spending. Do they need another orientation, on the shores of Lake Malawi, to enable them see that what they are doing is a mockery to the suffering Malawians?

Parliamentary committees are mandated to provide oversight role to other arms of government. They have State agents that they can ask to effectively probe the suspected fraud. We are talking about the Fiscal Police section of the Malawi Police Service and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

We do not believe that the committees have the competencies to meaningfully probe such crimes that are often complex in nature. The country already invested in the human capital which is at the two aforementioned State agencies.

It is such kind of duplication and wastefulness that is dragging this country backward.

We urge the Office of the President and Cabinet to pump sense in these committees and deny them funding for the trip. Let competent public bodies carry out the investigations and report to the two committees. That is called prudence in division of labour.

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