Lipenga faces chop over ‘budget-gate’ scam

Malawi President Joyce Banda has honed the axe to cut the cabinet life of Finance minister Ken Lipenga to preserve the integrity of her office, sources within government machinery have told Nyasa Times.

This follows Lipenga`s failure to resign honourably after confessing to poisoning Parliament with a cocktail of lies about the performance of Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) bluffing the International Monetary Fund (IMF), donors and other global lenders.

Banda, who took over from late Bingu wa Mutharika has vowed to rid her administration of corruption and financial deception, a hallmark of the previous regime.

Lipenga: Asked to resign

Malawians, donors and the international community see this case as her biggest acid test.

The minister acknowledges heading a syndicate involving leading commercial banks to lend MRA about  K30 billion to prop up its tax revenue books, a clear contravention of Public Finance Act and a slap on parliamentary oath.

“The President obviously expected the minister to resign but if that fails she will be forced to invoke her prerogative powers to drop him,” said the source from the Office of President and Cabinet.

The source further said as soon as the issue came out she demanded an immediate investigation and sent assurances to the international community the issue will be cleared.

Lipenga, was drafted to head the Ministry of Finance by late Mutharika after his predecessor Ken Kandodo disagreed with the late president on the devaluation of the kwacha and the practicability of the infamous Zero Budget deficit.

Meanwhile, Lipenga has submitted his report to the President on the MRA revenue figures cook-up scandal and challenged that he will step down i if implicated in the scam.

In a brief statement Lipenga said: “With regard to the matter of the MRA, I wish to inform the nation that I have submitted my report to Her Excellency the President.”

He has also proposed for Banda’s consideration that an independent investigation be instituted into this matter.

“Should the findings of such an investigation implicate me, I shall offer my resignation,” said Lipenga.

When Balaka South Member of Parliament George Nnensa blew the whistle in Parliament in February this year that MRA had borrowed money to doctor its figures of revenue collection and that he had evidence, both Lipenga and MRA director general Lloyd Muhara disputed the claim separately.

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