Lilongwe Msozi South member of Parliament (MP) Vitus Dzoole Mwale (MCP) has claimed that the allocated K4 billion to 86 parliamentary constituencies was a token of appreciation to lawmakers who frustrated the Electoral Reforms Bills.
Mwale said the money is a give away to MPs “who diverted the process of 50+1 Bill, so they are the beneficiaries of that.”
According to Mwale, the matter is already in public domain
“ I heard it on Zodiak [radio] that this money which was allocated to 86 Members of Parliament was allocated to the people who diverted the process of 50+1 Bill, so they are the beneficiaries of that. It is already on the radio,” he said.
Dowa East MP Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) described the funding of K4 billion as “serious crime.”
“It is not a small matter and Parliament should not condone such a matter,” he said. He continued: “We are talking about K3.4 billion which has been given to Members of Parliament and without following the procedure and criteria. It is a serious crime.”
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of the House, said funding is in this Mid-Year Budget Review.
“That is the reason why government brought this to the House so that the Members of this House can approve or disapprove. Therefore, assertions that the money has already been shared are not correct,” Nankhumwa said.
However, Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament chairperson Rhino Chiphiko described the transaction as suspicious.
Chiphiko said the Finance Minister’s earlier explanation that the funding is from grants does not hold either.
“I am very suspicious about the source of the funds that they have come from one vote or another. There is no proper statement on what this money will be used for and as I said in the response to the budget statement, government wants to use the money for financing political campaigns,” he said.
Ministries of Finance and Local Government on Wednesday were at pains to state where such money came from as pressure mounted on the motive behind the allocation that parliamentarians later agreed should be spread to all 193 constituencies instead of just 86.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe insisted the money was from taxes, grants and borrowing and was saved from the re-adjustments of the 2017/18 budget that saw cuts to the development budget.
Meanwhile, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has indicated that it was reviewing the matter.
“The bureau has recorded a statement on the matter based on media reports. The bureau will review the complaint to assess if there is merit to warrant its action,” the graft-busting body senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala has said.
Another opposition MCP lawmaker, Juliana Lunguzi, said MPs’ decision to accept the funding across 193 constituencies, will be to “legalise something which is illegal.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :