Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda accused Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe of being in “contempt of Parliament” for proceeding to sell the hitherto government wholly owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) after the House has suspended completely the sale.
In an impromptu signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Headquarters in Lilongwe, government gave up 75 percent of its stake in MSB for K9.5 billion ($21.1 million) to FDH Holdings Ltd (FDH Bank).
The Mutharika government has gone against recommendations of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament whose resolution, adopted on Wednesday, that government should recapitalise the bank to enable it meet regulatory requirements.
Banda said one of the recommendations in the Budget Committee report is that, government should stop the sale of the bank pending injection of K4.5 billion.
He accused Gondwe of “ executive arrogance” by going ahead to sale the bank and coming to inform the MPs that “experts were meeting somewhere else.”
The MCP MP said an Act of Parliament 2010, Financial Services Act, does not allow the Finance Minister to sale more than 49 per cent of the shares.
“I have a Constitution with me, Section 4 says that, the Constitution shall bind all Executive, Legislative and judicial organs of the state at all levels. The Finance Minister has gone ahead against the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, the motion of Parliament and is now respecting the experts and the Civil Society Organizations,” said Banda.
“ We have so many CSOs, you can mention a number of them, but they were never voted by the public in this country. (They applied for their jobs. We are mandated by law to stop you and advise government. We have an oversight role, legislative role and representation role. Those CSOs do not even have any. They are paid by their bosses and we are paid by government tax and we have the mandate,” he added.
Chimwendo Banda said the Minister of Finance is in the contempt of Parliament and “must be fired from his position.”
He continued: “The Minister of Finance is demeaning Parliament and I repeat, that if at all the Minister thinks that Parliament is useless, there is no need for us to spend government tax here. He should go and continue meeting those people to pass the budget. We passed the budget in this House, because you want Malawians to be represented. I am sorry, you are in contempt of Parliament and you must resign immediately. “
Gondwe said Parliament did not pass any resolution.
“ If you make recommendations it means that you know that there is further authority that has to decide. That is what recommendations means,” said Gondwe.
He challenged that if members feel he was in contempt, he they can “take action.”
“We will bow to that but the point is, as far as this issue is concerned, it is a matter of deciding where the interest of the country lies. If we allowed it to fondler, the government and the tax payer, will have to find something like K32 billion now to pay the depositor. That is what banking is, my friends,” said Gondwe.
Chimwendo Banda challenged Gondwe that the Budget Committee report had recommendations : “They are also resolutions by the way. We have resolutions here and we did adopt the report.”
Gondwe commented: “, I did not say there are no recommendations. I said these are recommendations. What I said is not there is that, there are no resolutions. That is what I said.”
Meanwhile, opposition members of Parliament (MPs) took centre stage in parliament standing up and throwing insinuating chants at Gondwe and President Peter Mutharika describing them as “thieves.”
“Goodall, Peter, wakuba, wakuba,” they sang.
Budget and Finance Committee chairperson Rhino Chiphiko has since said the committee would meet to ponder whether to challenge the sale in court.
On June 3, Mutharika suspended the sale of MSB to allow for more consultations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :