Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is wrongly and unfairly accused by some civil society organisations (CSOs) pushing for his resignation over the controversial K4 billion to legislators, Secretary to Treasury Ben Botolo has told stakeholders during pre-Budget consultations in Mzuzu.
CSO leaders are demanding President Peter Mutharika to fire Gondwe and his Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development counterpart Kondwani Nankhumwa for their role in the transaction.
But Botolo queried the CSOs for their “torture” of the “old man” Gondwe when the matter was debated in Parliament in the Rural Development Budget.
Botolo said none of the CSOs go to Parliament to question them on the allocation But they are attacking the country’s purse keeper , which he said is “unfair.”
He said: “We are defending him [Gondwe] because it was not in the Ministry of Finance budget, but the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.”
Botolo was representing the Minister during the meeting seeking input on the 2018/19 national budget.
The K4 billion issue—that initially saw 86 legislators mostly affiliated to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its working partners getting about K40 million each—came to the fore during the Mid-Year Budget Review Meeting on Parliament in February after Malawi News first reported the matter.
But Nankhumwa clarified that both sides of the House decided to distribute the money equally across the board, meaning that each of the 193 legislators would now receive K20.7 million.
Capital Hill has long argued that the money, described as Quick Grant Project, is meant for rural development.