Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has criticised the Peter Mutharika administration of bad governance over the controversial disposal of the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) against recommendations of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament.
The influential quasi-religious organisation has said the Mutharika government has asserted its credentials as not a listening and arrogant regime for going ahead to sell 75 percent of its shareholding in the MSB to Financial Discount House Holdings. at MK 9.5 Billion.
PAC Chairperson, Reverend Felix Chingota has since described government’s conduct on the sale as violating “the very fundamental principles of democracy.”
The grouping fears Malawi is doomed “if Mutharika administration will continue to violate principles like that. “
PAC’s sharp criticism comes after Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) also described government’s conduct on the sale as an assault on constitutionalism.
CCJP executive director Chris Chisoni said DPP government’s determination to push ahead with the sale undermined Parliament’s role and unmasks President Mutharika’s call for more dialogue on the matter as “cosmetic and insincere.”
“There are governance principles which should be adhered to in the process of democracy. The conduct of government on the matter has betrayed that. The issue of accountability and responsiveness role of Parliament has been severely undermined.
“The President called for dialogue and pledged to listen to the voice of Malawians, but before Malawians were given time to exhaust that process, the announcement was made. Parliament, as a representation of the masses, wanted to give an opinion and direction, but the consultations were curtailed immediately. The three (Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive) were supposed to work with each other, what we see now is the betrayal of that spirit and the betrayal of general idea that Parliament is a representation of Malawians,” said Chisoni as quoted in the press.
The opposition lawmakers vehemently opposed the sale of the bank, citing controversy over alleged toxic loans owed to the bank.
They condemned the Executive for lack of transparency on the deal, undervaluing the bank, breaking the country’s financial legislation; hence, described the sale as asset stripping.
But DPP spokesman, who is also Minister of Transport and Leader of government in Parliament, Francis Kasaila said a legal opinion by Malawi Law Society indicated that government is the sole shareholder of MSB on behalf of all Malawians and can decide on what to do with these shares.
Kasaila said the decision of the executive to sell MSB is backed by law.
“The executive has those legal powers to decide and the executive has decided [to sell MSB], “said Kasaila.
Finance Minister Gondwe rejected accusations of executive arrogance.
“This question of being arrogant should not arise,” he said.
Gondwe said if government were to decide to keep MSB, the Reserve Bank of Malawi would have had “some problems” by the accommodation it would be giving to the bank.
“We had to decide very soon. The resources that we are leaving at the Malawi Savings Bank, we would want to buy back, so that we can actually reconstitute our position at the Reserve Bank of Malawi,” said Gondwe.
“This bank is gone, we should know this.”
Gondwe stressed that the wholly-owned government financial institution “is not there anymore, that is what it is.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :