Finance Minister contradicts JB on jet cash spending on FILP

Malawi Finance Minister Maxwell Mkwezalamba contradicted his boss President Joyce Banda when he said the proceeds from the Jet sale were not used to purchase fertilizer for Farm Imputs Loan Program (FILP).

While addressing a news conference at Kamuzu Palace on Tuesday, Banda said out of the sales government used K1.8b on FILP.

But Mkwezalamba on Wednesday told reporters that government did not use any amount on the program.

Mkwezalamba: Money was not used for farm input subsidy
Mkwezalamba: Money was not used for farm input subsidy

Mkwezalamba said K2.8 billion went for the peace keeping mission, K1.5 billion into maize purchasing and K1.5 billion on drugs.

Asked why there was a contradiction, he explained the President only said she mandated the minister to include FILP on the jet cash beneficialies but they did not allocate for it.

The Minister held a news briefing amid allegations the jet proceeds may have been embezzled.

He provided to the public a breakdown of how the proceeds from the jet sale were used .

The jet had been bought by Banda’s predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika who died from a heart attack in 2012.

When she took over office, Banda introduced a gamut of cost-cutting measures and uses commercial airlines to travel outside the country.

The 14-passenger aircraft was auctioned off to a Virgin Islands company, Bohnox Enterprise Ltd.

Banda’s administration is under scrutiny after government was rocked by a $30m graft scandal – the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history.

A damning audit last month revealed that corrupt officials had stolen from state coffers over $30 million, or the equivalent of more than one percent of GDP, in one of the world’s poorest countries.

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