Malawians are outraged that government is paying K295 million for public relations stories in Time magazine wondering whether this is not another cashgate, the infamous coordinated and calculated plunder of public resources.
Finance minister Goodall Gondwe conceded the government was paying for the advertorials, a decision that has generated a heated debate on social media, especially on Facebook and also on Nyasa Times comments page.
Most contributors wonder what impact this may have, saying this is just a wastage of money.
Stanley Onjezani Kenani, a social and political commentator said there is no story published so far in Time magazine.
The revelation by Gondwe on the Time magazine project comes barely days after President Peter Mutharika was severely criticised for buying a motor-home costing the poor tax payer a whopping K65 million.
Facebook users say the money could have been used in the fast collapsing public health sector.
However, other Malawians say the advertorials are important as they will help lure potential foreign investors, a catalyst for fast growing economy in the absence of donors.
According to published reports, the transaction was not sought nor granted by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
Director of Information Bright Molande conceded there was flouting of procurement procedures, saying “there was no formal bidding process.”
Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee, Rhyno Chiphiko, has said his committee “will take it up “ with Treasury when they meet for mid-term review of the budget.
According to Chiphiko, government hides operations of this nature as they are made at ministerial level, but warned government against taking advantage of some votes which he said were not properly audited.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :