Malawi Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has said it wants answers from government why it undertook a multi-million public relations project with Time magazine when the majority of Malawians are living below poverty line in a feeble economy.
Deputy chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Kamlepo Kalua said government explanation of the payment of a whopping K280 million to the magazine for advertorials is not adding up.
“Something is fishy here. There is something with those officials involved. As PAC, we are not amused. We want the government to explain in parliament what happened with the money,” said the Rumphi east outspoken parliamentarian.
He said the ‘Mapwevupwevu’ culture is not acceptable under austerity measures.
Finance minister Goodall Gondwe explained that the government paid the money to the international magazine for advertorials, paid up news stories aimed at improving the image of Malawi.
The image of Malawi was battered following the infamous cashgate, the plunder of public money at Capital Hill, the seat of government in Lilongwe by powerful politicians, businessmen and civil servants fleecing the public purse billions since 2005.
It is expected that the advertorials would attract more foreign investors in the country.
However, opposition and other critics questioned the government wisdom to undertake such an ambitious project when Malawians cannot afford basic things in life including food.