Heads must roll at MRA, Ministry of Finance

On Sunday, 4 March 2012, shortly after George Mnesa, MP, revealed in the National Assembly that the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) figures were fake, and Khwauli Msiska MP moved a motion for the matter to be investigated, here is what I wrote, which I reprise in its entirety:

As the story goes, so we are told, the truth out there is that this government is very broke. The zero-deficit budget which many a bootlicking economist praised as the work of genius, is turning out to
be the zero-some budget. Our taxes, regardless of the endless hikes, can hardly fill the coffers to our expectations, so the bally guys at MRA went to work panel-beating their accounts to create some sort of impression.

This is not a work of fiction, believe me (rather believe jolly old Khwauli), but those guys set out to borrow K15 billion from the banks which creative accountants at MRA decided to treat as revenue. Don’t laugh – this is Malawi – but, really, that’s how the comedy of errors is sinking our country into the pit of hell. (While at it, I will call an old pal of mine who is at the helm of financial accounting at MRA and ask him whether he has already forgotten his Frank Wood lessons in basic accounting in which, among other things, borrowings cannot be treated as revenue, but that is a private matter between my friend and me).

Lipenga: Faces resignation demand

Whichever idiots that decided to play along with this sorry story must feel ashamed wherever they are. You see, you can fool all of the people some of the time; you can also fool some of the people all of the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. At some point or other the truth will catch up with you (as Abraham Lincoln said). It is not long before now that a ten-year old will stand up and tell us: ‘But can’t you see you’re naked?’ For our eyes have been blinded by praise-singing; that everything our leaders do is sacrosanct. We do not call them to account.

Though Khwauli  did. And you should have seen the jitters this sent down the spine of a government that is not transparent. Bingu is a genius. He brought in a creative writer for minister of finance, so
now the latter is coming up with creative financial positions of our country. He was among the most vocal on Thursday, was Dr Ken Lipenga, who said Khwauli’s motion was ‘full of malice’ and that it was ‘a classic example of a kangaroo court’. Ah, well, there he was, Ken, using tired old phrases writers of good standing don’t use anymore.

But then he is not a finance minister of good standing. Either he allows a probe of this saga or he should be sacked for – what shall we call this scandal, Taxgate? Don’t be fooled into thinking that
creative accounting is a very clever move. Soon the truth will out, and you will look stupid, all of you at MRA and the Ministry of Finance and indeed the lame-duck cabinet that is incapable of
thinking, only saying ‘Yes bwana’ to El Presidente.

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