Parliament Secretariat defends purchase of Speakers’ vehicles
The Secretariat at Parliament has defended its decision to purchase vehicles for the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition with an affirmation that the Office of the President approved the procurement in July 2014.
Deputy Clerk of Parliament responsible for Corporate Services, Renard Mapemba, said Parliament had no vehicles to allocate to the newly elected Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition as their predecessors’ had bought the old vehicles in line with their conditions of service.
In an interview with Malawi News two weeks ago, the government spokesperson, Jappie Mhango, made reference to what he described as Parliament’s lack of prudence shown in the purchase of the vehicles as a symptom of reckless spending.
But the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya “marvelled at the wisdom” of government questioning the purchases that were legitimate and done in the interest of smooth discharging of the duties of the officers responsible.
Mapemba said the Office of the President and Cabinet granted the permission to sell vehicles to former Parliament’s political leaders in a letter with reference number 16/015/1 and dated April 15, 2014.
According to the Parliament secretariat, upon being sworn in, the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition were using hired vehicles which were costing Parliament a lot of money each month.
Mapemba said it is a policy and practice that every office holder in the public sector is provided with conditions of service, which the government approves and sanctions while the Parliament Secretariat implements in line with the Public Service Act.
“Bearing in mind the government ban on procurement of capital items such as vehicles, Parliament sought approval from Office of the President and Cabinet to purchase vehicles for the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition. This was granted in their [OPC] letter Ref. No. 16/06/4 dated 4th July, 2014,” Mapemba said.
He said the procurement processes were duly done in line with the Procurement Act and the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) issued a letter of no objection with reference number ODDP/03/283 and dated September 2, 2014.
“The budget for the purchase of the vehicles was in the 2014/2015 Financial Year. The actual cost of the four vehicles was MK256, 522,140.00,” he said.
Mapemba said the Speaker’s Toyota Land Cruiser VX was delivered on November 28, 2014 while the deputy speakers’ two Toyota Prados LX were delivered on December 17, 2014 with one Prado LX for the Leader of Opposition delivered in January, 2015.
“Parliament’s position, therefore, is as presented above which indicates what transpired on the procurement of the vehicles for its political leadership. We hope that this explanation clarifies the matter on the procurement of vehicles for the political leadership of Parliament of Malawi,” Mapemba said.
The decision to buy the vehicles has since received mixed reactions from the general public with some people condemning the purchase of expensive vehicles amidst failing economy while some feel the officers in question are entitled to their benefits.
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