Lipenga reveals MRA faked revenue collection figures

Malawi’s Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga Has made a shocking admission that the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) borrowed money from local commercial banks to give an impression that revenue collection was impressive in the first half of the financial year had basis.

Late President Bingu wa Mutharika told parliament in February that domestic revenue amounted to about K120 billion, against the midyear target of about K115 billion.

But in his contribution to a debate on a statement made by Finance Minister Ken Lipenga on the mid-term budget review for the 2011/2012 financial year, Member of Parliament for Balaka South George Mnesa said he had evidence that the said revenue could be contested.

Lipenga: MRA tricks exposed

Mnesa , who is president of Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), said he had evidence MRA borrowed some of the money from the local banks to give an impression that the zero-deficit budget is working.

DPP MPs then including  Lipenga rubbished the claims saying they went bent on malice and were meant to discredit the good performance of the zero deficit budget initiated by late Mutharika after donor freeze due to the then bad governance.

Lipenga had told the house then that domestic revenue amounted to K120 million against a target of K115 billion

Lipenga who has been maintained by President Joyce Banda as Finance Minister said on Tuesday in Lilongwe during common Approach to Budget Support(CABS) meeting  that the reports that government then borrowed money from INDE bank, NBS, Standard and National banks as well as Malawi Savings Bank are true.

His confession was also reported on state broadcaster MBC television that the revenue authority indeed bloated its figures by borrowing from banks and claiming it was revenue collected.

DPP Government then through its parliamentary leader  George Chaponda asked Nnesa to provide evidence for his claims.

Mnesa challenged the DPP administration to call chief executives of the said banks to testify under oath before the business and finance committee of parliament.

He urged the government to get a statement from MRA and see how much the revenue collecting body borrowed from banks.

Efforts by another MP Khwauli Msiska to have the matter investigated was shot down by the then DPP strong member house.

Lipenga conceded Mnesa’s claims had genuine basis.

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