Malawi government has vehemently denied newspaper accusations of “sheer waste” over a report that is paying $13 000 (about K10 million) monthly to house Malawi High Commissioner to Kenya, Agrinna Mussa who vacated the official residence government bought 20 years ago, citing security concerns and the need to have the house rehabilitated.
Published reports say for two years, Mussa has been housed at Panari (Hotel) luxurious apartment, which is fully furnished and serviced, and is located in Westland in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
But Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Tuesday said the Nation on Sunday report was “misleading”.
“The Malawi Government has two properties at the Malawi High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, with one serving as a Chancery and the other one as an Official Residence. The two properties were acquired in 1990 as unfinished and/ or existing structures and were later redesigned and modified to suit the requirements of the Malawi Government,” the statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.
The statement said one of the properties was, thus, redesigned and modified for use as Chancery, while the other one was made into an Official Residence.
“Accordingly, the properties were used as such until 2005 when the Malawi Government closed the Mission. The Malawi Government reopened the Embassy in November 2013. By that time, however, both the Chancery and the Official Residence had deteriorated and required major maintenance works,” reads the statement in part.
The ministry said the first to be finished and occupied was the Chancery and maintenance works on the Official Residence had only been partially done when the current Malawi High Commissioner to Kenya, Mussa decided to take occupancy.
“In December 2017, armed robbers broke into the compound, taking advantage of all the unfinished maintenance works, including the security fence. The armed robbers held the guards and gardener at gunpoint. It was as a result of this incident that the High Commissioner moved to a rented apartment,” it explained, a position confirmed by Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Relations Isaac Munlo in the newspaper report.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations spokesperson Rejoice Chaponda Sumba disputed the quoted figure of $13 000 (about K10 million) monthly to house its High Commissioner to Kenya, saying it was $6 000, which translates to about K4.5 million.
“The fact of the matter is that the High Commissioner is renting an apartment for $3,500 a month while the rental entitlement for a High Commissioner in Nairobi is $6500,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified
According to the statement, Suzgo Chitete who wrote the newspaper article on Sunday, 5th August 2018, had submitted a questionnaire which was responded to accordingly by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“But the facts in the article are not the ones that were given in the response. Parliament has approved some funds for the maintenance of the property; the Ministry will work with speed to have the maintenance works completed, once the funds are released by Treasury. When this is done the High Commissioner will vacate the rented premises and return to the Official Residence,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation appealed to the media to use verified facts in the conduct of its work.
However, the newspaper report indicated that the Auditor General’s report of 2013 indicates that resources for the rehabilitation of the Nairobi residence were made available in 2012 but were abused.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :