Malawi Parliament has come out to clarify the controversial procurement of four vehicles for the Speaker of the National Assembly, leader of opposition and two deputy speakers.
National Assembly said they used MK256, 522,140.00 which was budgeted for in procurement of the vehicles.
Minister of information, Jappie Mhangoaccused Parliament leadership for buying “fuel guzzlers” vehicles at the time when Malawi was experiencing economic problems.
However, Parliament spokesperson Leonard Mengezi wondered where the K300million figure originated.
“We did not pay such much money what we know is that Parliament paid MK256, 522,140.00 for all the four vehicles,” Mengezi told Nyasa Times.
Mengezi said Parliament bought the vehicles using budget for the 2014/2015 Financial Year.
He said Parliament is one of the three arms of government, just like the Judiciary and the Executive branches.
“In this vein, Parliament is, therefore, mandated to follow the laws, policies and procedures that govern procurement of public assets and management of financial resources,” he said.
Mengezi said traditionally, Parliament secretariat prepares a budget to purchase vehicles for the political leadership, at the beginning of its five year term of Office.
The PRO said this is done on the basis that Parliament will have no vehicles to allocate to the newly elected Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition because the vehicles are sold to the outgoing office bearers as per their conditions of service after seeking approval of the Office of the President and Cabinet to sale the vehicles.
Mengezi said it is a policy and practice that every office holder in the public sector is provided with conditions of service, which are approved and sanctioned by Government and implemented by the Secretariat of Parliament in line with the Public Service Act.
According to Mengezi, in this context, following the expiry of the 2009 – 2014 Parliamentary term of the former Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition, Parliament had no vehicles to allocate to the new office holders because their predecessors had bought the vehicles in line with their conditions of service.
Mengezi said approval to sell the vehicles to them was granted by the Office of the President and Cabinet as indicated in their letter Ref. No. 16/015/1 dated 15th April, 2014.
“Upon being sworn in and elected into office, the Speaker of Parliament, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition were using hired vehicles which were costing Parliament a lot of money per month and bearing in mind the Government ban on procurement of capital items such as vehicles, Parliament sought approval from Office of the President and Cabinet to purchase vehicles for the Speaker, Deputy Speakers and Leader of Opposition. This was granted in their letter Ref. No. 16/06/4 dated 4th July, 2014,” said Mengezi.
Mengezi said procurement processes were duly done in line with the Procurement Act and the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) issued a letter of no objection Ref. No. ODDP/03/283, dated 2nd September, 2014 to procure the vehicles.
According to Mengezi , Toyota Land Cruiser for the Speaker is same model to that of Chief Justice and Chief Secretary to Government.
“Parliament would like to inform the Public that the vehicles were delivered by the Dealers as follows:- Toyota Land Cruiser VX which is being used by the Speaker was delivered on 28th November, 2014 while two Toyota Prados LX which are used by the Deputy Speakers were delivered on 17th December, 2014 while one Prado LX which is used by the Leader of Opposition was delivered in January, 2015.”
The explanation by parliament put off fears that Parliament bought the vehicles recently when the economy had deteriorated.
Meanwhile, the opposition Malawi Congress Party says the issues of K300Million vehicles is surfacing as one way of diverting people’s attention from numerous blunders which the DPP led government has been making.
MCP Publicity Secretary Dr Jessie Kabwira told Nyasa Times that MCP is not shaken over the matter.
Kabwira said their leader Dr Lazarus Chakwera is not a procurement officer let alone an officer of the Office of Director of Public Procurement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :