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Stalemate on Speaker house allowance scam

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has stuck to its earlier recommendations that Parliament should discipline some of its members of staff who allegedly authorised Speaker, Richard Msowoya, and his two deputies, Esther- Mcheka Chilenje and Clement Chiwaya, to be drawing extra house allowances, without approval from Parliament, The Daily Times has learnt.

ACB, among others, also recommended in its report, issued in May, that Parliament secretariat should recover money which was being ‘illegally’ paid as house allowance to Msowoya as well as disciplining Mcheka- Chilenje and Chiwaya.

But Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in June sent back the report to the bureau, saying it was dissatisfied with the findings and requested ACB to institute another probe.

According to PSC Spokesperson, Vitus Dzoole Mwale, ACB had erred in its recommendation to fault some Parliament staff including the Speaker, when his committee had only asked the bureau, to investigate Chiwaya and Mcheka- Chilenje.

But impeccable sources at the bureau have confided in this paper that the graft-busting body has not made any changes to its findings and recommendations and no fresh investigations will be done.

“The bureau did a thorough job after being asked by Parliament to investigate the matter and it was quite disappointing that recommendations were not taken seriously by Parliamentary Service Commission. It’s all internal politics at the National Assembly and the bureau does not want to be dragged into such issues,” the source said.

ACB Deputy Director, Reyneck Matemba, indicated that only his boss Lucas Kondowe was better placed to comment, and a questionnaire which was forwarded to the office some two weeks ago has not been responded to.

In a separate interview on Tuesday, Mwale maintained that PSC will not discipline any of its staff but will wait for a fresh report from ACB.

“Do you know who receives the house rentals for the Speaker, It is his landlord, so why should ACB say Parliament should recover the money from the Speaker? The Speaker is not in the wrong and maybe you journalists are being sent to write these stories,” he said.

Chiwaya and Chilenje declared their houses as belonging to estate agents, thereby forcing Parliament to give an extra K300,000 a month.

Minutes of an extra– ordinary meeting of PSC held on July 13, 2014 show that a recommendation was made to revise accommodation rates from K450,000 to K750,000 for Speaker, K150,000 to K550, 000 for Deputy Speakers while leader of opposition rate went up to K550,00 from K100,000.

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