Hundreds of people have protested in the capital Lilongwe and delivered a petition to government and another to Speaker of Parliament against the impending sale of state-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), urging government to recapitalise the bank instead of selling it.
The petition to government was presented at Ministry of Finance where spokesperson for the Ministry, Nations Msowoya, received it .
Handing over the petition to Parliament to Chairperson of budget and Finance Committee, Rino Chiphiko, one of the organisers, Billy Mayaya said the “concerned Malawians” want the recapitalisation of the bank should go through parliament.
“The MSB recapitalisation process should go through parliament,” said Mayaya.
“We demand that the National Assembly debates and approves the re-capitalisation of MSB to the tune of K5 billion so that it continues to operate,” said Mayaya amid chanting by members of the CSOs.
He also said Malawians are also against government’s move to clear toxic loans totalling K6 billion owed to the bank by private sector players.
“The loans should not be passed on to Malawians,” he said. “We will not allow our taxes to be used to pay off individual loans of greedy, selfish, hard hearted politicians and businessmen,”
The petition demand that those who defaulted must repay their loans, failing which “their assets must be seized.”
Opposition lawmakers claimed in parliament that government wants to hand over the bank to FDH Bank, owned by Thom Mpinganjira, whom MCP MP Peter Dimba described as “Mutharika’s crony, tribesman, DPP campaign financier who sits on the public reforms commission.”
Receiving the petition, Chiphiko promised to deliver it to the Speaker of the National Assembly.
“As members of Parliament, we have also taken government to task on the same; we even presented a report in Parliament on how transparent we want all this to be,” he said.
Some of the politicians who joined the match included MCP spokeswoman, Dr Jessie Kabwira who always exercises her right to demonstrate, youthful politician Levi Luwemba also took part.
Many people have described MSB sale deal as similar to Cashgate—the systematic plunder of billions of kwacha from Treasury.
Meanwhile, government is reported to have set up a yet-to-be-named independent agency to collect outstanding loans owed to MSB.
According to press reports two of the individuals earmarked for the job are Chadwick Mphande, former chief executive officer of Carlsberg Malawi Limited who also serves as a director of NBS Bank and chartered accountant Nkondola Uka, a managing partner in accounting, audit and business advisory firm Deloitte.
The strategy, according to reports, is for the team to collect the debts owed to MSB to demonstrate that government was not bailing out the politically linked debtors.
The petition, addressed to the Minister to Finance, Goodall Gondwe, and copied to Secretary to Treasury and Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, says the CSOs will hold vigils at Parliament and all MSB branches across the country if government does not comply with the demand.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :