Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has cautioned the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that they will not be allowed to duplicate projects in order to “cashgate”.
Speaking on behalf of MCP, Mzimba Solola MP Jacob Hara, the opposition will be resolute to provide checks and balances to avoid DPP get away with ‘cashgate’.
He was contributing to a Loan Authorisation Bill seeking authorisation to borrow about K9.8 billion from European Investment Bank (EIB) meant to finance the upgrading of essential aviation safety and security equipment at Kamuzu and Chileka international airports.
Parliament e rejected the bill, saying it lacked sufficient information.
Hara said DPP government should explain why is it that after Japanese International Cooperating Agency (Jica) gave Kamuzu International Airport a solar field that generates power into the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) grid, the airport is still being charged K8 million every month when it only consumes half the power it generates and supplies the excess to Escom.
“Then there is completion of taxiway lighting, MCP would like to inform this government that there is no such a thing as completion of taxiway lighting at KIA. This project was completed three or four years ago under this same DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] government and was funded by Badea and Cofid, time for duplication of projects in order to steal is over,” said Hara.
Hara also told the House that the aeronautical fixed telecommunication network which government wants to buy is a piece of ageing technology which has been around since 1930.
“It is based on telex protocols which are limited with regards to messaging functionality and types of information. Our colleagues are replacing these with the new kid on the block,” said Hara.
MCP lawmaker said it was surprising that most of the equipment which government said it would purchase were obsolete, citing VDF (Direction Finder) as equipment which is not required in modern airports.
“This piece of equipment locates the position of an aircraft using Very High frequencies. International civil aviation is now migrating from ground-based equipment to satellite based equipment…DPP please wake up from your colour dreams. We are now in the e-world,” Hara said.
In his contribution, Chitipa South MP Werani Chilenga (People’s Party-PP) observed that airports such as Mzuzu need further upgrades.
“Other airports are not being taken care of. I’m talking of Mtakataka Police Airwing, Zomba and Old Airport. Lack of equipment there has put our men in uniform at risk,” Chilenga said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, who had earlier pleaded with MPs to pass the Bill, was forced to send the Bill to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament for further scrutiny.
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