Malawi Parliament to start with ‘cash-gate’ report

As members of Parliament resume their meeting in Lilongwe this afternoon, Monday, the nation is anticipating with abated breath to hear the contents of the ‘special’ government statement on the plundering of more than K20 billion from the Capital Hill.

Vice President Khumbo Kachali is expected to make the statement on behalf of government, according to Henry Phoya, Leader of the House.

This will probably be a litmus test of President Joyce Banda’s 18-month-old administration ahead of the crucial next year’s tripartite elections.

Phoya said immediately after commencing the sitting, the vice president will present a statement on behalf of government explaining what it has discovered to be the root cause of the looting.

Phoya: The VP will present the report
Phoya: The VP will present the report

“The vice president will also explain a number of steps government is taking to arrest this evil.  Once this is done we will expect responses from the leadership of the opposition parties and this may happen the following day, which is Tuesday, and thereafter the House will debate the issue and if there will be reports pertaining to the same they will also be tabled,” explained Phoya.

The meeting, according to Phoya, has been fast-forwarded, following a directive by President Banda to have it much earlier than originally planned in order for the House to discuss the Capital Hill shame, popularly known as cash-gate scandal.

“This signifies the seriousness government is attaching to the matter,” said Phoya, who is also Minister of Lands and Housing.

Several civil servants and businessmen have already been arrested for apparently being involved in the scam, which so far is believed to have drained about K20 billion from government coffers.

But besides the thorny Capital Hill saga, the National Assembly is also expected to debate five bills including the contentious the amended Assets Declaration Bill which cabinet passed a few days ago.

Others, Phoya said, are new bills in the names of Estate Duty and Plant Protection Amendment Bill and Trafficking in Persons Bill.

Two other bills- University of Malawi and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources- which were left out during the previous meeting, are also scheduled to be tabled before the House, which was initially slated to convene in November.

The Business Committee of Malawi’s Parliament has agreed that the next meeting of the House, scheduled to commence next Monday, should prioritise the looting of funds currently taking place in government.

Phoya confirmed on Thursday that central in the meeting of Parliament will be the issue of the looting of government coffers.

Phoya said Vice president Khumbo Kachali will make a parliamentary statement on the matter on which the House will base its debate.

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