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The problem with lying

The art of lying is a difficult one as the Ministry of Finance must have found out by now, to its utter chagrin.

The problem with lying is that, once you are caught in the act, you are forced to spin more lies to cover up the previous lines.

The trouble is that once you are caught in such a situation, you would create more lies in a web that will get more complicated as you continue lying.

The Ministry of Finance has been caught in a web of lies on the K4 billion that this publication uncovered and it has joined the bandwagon of those who spin more lies.

This week the ministry published a press statement in which it is complaining that there is a lot of misinformation on the matter.

According to the ministry, the government relooks at the approved budget lines and assesses whether there is need to make changes which are then proposed in the revised budget.

The line the ministry wants the public to buy is that the K4 billion was arrived at after re-assessment of the votes and the resultant loot was earmarked for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

The Ministry then concludes the press release by saying the release of the K4 billion will depend on the availability of resources and that Treasury may not be able to fund the vote if the resources are not available, eventually.

It is clear that the ministry is struggling to explain the saga to Malawians and it has joined its minister, Goodall Gondwe, in a web of lies.

For the press release to make a difference, it should have reconciled itself with all the statements that Gondwe has made to Malawians since Malawi News broke the story that the government had selectively picked 86 Members of Parliament (MPs) to benefit from K4 billion of taxpayers’ money through dubious projects of their own choosing as a reward for voting against electoral reforms in Parliament.

That should have made the ministry to come up with a better press release that does not patronise Malawians as idiots but explains issues to them with an apology at the end. The ministry says the K4 billion came from the budget after re-alignment of the votes.

The question that it must answer is what necessitated the re-alignment to come up with a fresh vote that was not there before? Why create such a fresh pool of funds to selected

MPs when there are known initiatives such as the Local Development Fund (LDF) or the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that cater for each of the 193 constituencies.

How does the ministry claim that the K4 billion was a result of the re-alignment of the votes? This explanation does not make sense, especially when we reconcile with the claim of Gondwe that the money is a result of a budget surplus. More so because this is a government that is borrowing heavily both on the domestic and foreign markets.

What about Gondwe’s earlier claims that the money was a donation from some unnamed donor?

Was the ministry not obliged to deal with the various statements its own minister made on this matter especially when it took the liberty of describing the public outbursts on it as misinformation?

Well, I have got a piece of advice to deliver to Ministry of Finance: Not all Malawians are drooling fools, who would not tell lies from the truth.

This matter is really a simple one.

It is about a crooked government trying to pull a fast one on citizens by abusing their tax to reward political loyalty of selected MPs, in the course of doing so violating the Constitution.

Whatever the ministry is saying is not making sense.

Goodall Gondwe told Parliament that the budget cannot balance because the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) had under-collected and that the European Union, which promised budgetary support, had not come to the party.

How can the ministry say it would start re-aligning the votes from such a budget to create another fund that is not even in the law? I ask again, what necessitated it? Was it an emergency? Why the effort? Why only 86 MPs?

The ministry must forget about the money being distributed among the 193 MPs because that was not the original intention before Malawi News broke the story. This was only done after the ministry was caught in an illegal act.

No amount of explaining by the ministry will change the fact that this was cheating and the government was caught redhanded in the act.

While the ministry wants Malawians to believe otherwise, it was complicit in the action of its DPP political masters to the act of illegally allocating money selectively to 86 MPs to achieve political expediency.

It is, in fact, the ministry that is trying to misinform the public and help in the cover up through a web of lies.

The problem with covering up an issue with lies is that you must continue lying.

Sadly, this is what we are seeing with our Ministry of Finance.

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