The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Esther Mcheka Chilenje on Tuesday ruled that the evidence Rumphi East MP, Kamlepo Kalua tendered in the House to prove corruption allegations against Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda on maize import deal from Brazil is inadmissible in National Assembly.
Kalua said on Monday that he has it “on good authority” that Chaponda visited Brazil to discuss a maize deal.
But Chaponda denied the claims and demanded Kalua to bring evidence to substantiate his allegations that he vsited Brazil.
On Tuesday, Kalua told the House that he has “ two documents” which he wanted to tender as evidence of the facts he gave the House.
But after submitting the documents, First Deputy speaker Chilenje said she had observed that the evidence does not bear any signature and not on a letter head and could not verify its authenticity.
“I think this evidence is inadmissible because it is not on a letterhead and not signed. It is like a document which can be typed by any other person. Even the Courts could have demanded the evidence to be put on a letterhead and signed,” Chilenje said.
Chaponda, who is also Leader of the House and a trained lawyer, said Kalua was supposed to provide evidence that he travelled to Brazil and that he obtained “kickbacks” on the maize deal.
“There is something here which has to do with the military. He has printed correspondence obtained from wherever about military attachment. It is communication between Ambassador [Brian] Bowler from the Embassy in New York (Bowler is now in Brazil) and to me as the then Minister of Foreign Affairs. I don’t see how this evidence has anything to do with this issue which is supposed to be provided here,” said Chaponda.
Leader of the opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, who is also president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), asked for the House to subpoena people mentioned to speak under oath as to establish “whether these things are true or not.”
Said Chakwera: “There are relevant Committees of Parliament that ought to look into the same rather than just pass judgement to say that this is not signed, therefore, inadmissible. If certain people need to be protected so they can give evidence under oath, let it be so, but these are very serious issues.”
But Chaponda insisted that Kalua stated the minister went to Brazil and on a contract relating to maize, claiming he was bribed, saying “that is the evidence which he will produce here.”
Chaponda dismissed Chakwera’s assertions to subpoena people, saying Standing Order 102 states that where a person makes allegation in Parliament and the House requested the person to come and present the evidence, “there is no question of subpoena or whatever.”
Henry Mussa, the Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development backed Chaponda to demand that Kalua should bring objective material evidence of his claims.
“This is [MP Kalua] who had been all round to destroy other people’s character. It is time now for this to be stopped and we want this evidence to be brought before the House, failing which, Madam First Deputy Speaker, go back to the Speaker’s ruling, he has to be thrown out,” said Mussa.
However, MCP’s Member for Dedza North West , Alekeni Menyani, rising on a point of order asked for the evidence which Kalua had tendered to be circulated to other MPs.
“But in the manner that we are preceding, evidence has been given by the Member for Rumphi East through the Sergeant-at-Arms to you and we do not know what is contained there and you are going ahead to say it is inadmissible. How then do you have the whole House concurring with that decision to have been free and fair?
“What is out of order is that there is no information being circulated to the whole House so that we are also filled in and we are in the know because the Leader of the House is being defensive and Rumphi East is giving you evidence and therefore it points out that there is indeed a matter before the House.
“The only proper way to proceed would be in my view that the document be circulated whether admissible or inadmissible be circulated to the whole House and then we debate that matter,” said Menyani.
But Chaponda challenged Menyani saying “ there is no point of circulating something which is totally irrelevant.”
He said: “If he has provided something which is totally out of context, what is the point of circulating?”
The First Deputy Speaker told the House that Kalua presented a communication which was there between Ambassador Bowler who was the Malawi Ambassador at the United Nations in New York at that time and Chaponda who was Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“The contents which are here cannot be the facts pertaining to the evidence,” said Chilenje.
The First Deupty Speaker then ruled that Kalua’s evidence is “inadmissible.”
She closed the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :