Malawians are angry, Atupele says on Capital Hill fraud

Presidential candidate for the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)Atupele Muluzi has said “Malawians angry”  with financial disorder at the Capital Hill – the seat of government – coming in the aftermath of the shooting of Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo on September 13.

Atupele told Nyasa Times in an interview added his voice to the chorus of calling for  State President Joyce Banda, currently in United States, to immediately cut short the trip and come home to address the matter.

He, however, asked the President to  fire Finance Minister Ken Lipenga, secretary to the Treasury Randson Mwadiwa and the Accountant General.

“The President must return to Malawi and take charge of the situation by immediately firing the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice, the Secretary to Treasury and the Accountant General to ensure that they will not interfere with investigations currently underway,” he said.

Atupele: Clocks 35
Atupele: Clocks 35

Atupele, who quit his post as Economic Planning Minister , said President Banda “needs to demonstrate transparency and accountability in her administration by publicly declaring her assets and demand the same from her Ministers.”

He observed that refusal to declare assets  publicly has sent the wrong signals that the President is hiding behind the law.

The lawmakers said “Malawians are very angry” with the self- enrichment and  looting of public  resource,  “especially considering that civil servants are not being paid on time, institutions such as our colleges and Universities are not being adequately funded, unavailability of essential drugs within our public hospitals and inadequate maize in Admarc.”

He cited a 30 days ultimatum, which the grand civil society coalition has given the Banda administration to act on governance lapses or they will mobilise Malawians to stop paying taxes, saying that demonstrates anger on the part of Malawians.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive Chancellor Kaferapanjira has also warned that the private sector would stop paying taxes until the system is cleaned.

Kaferapanjira also said the donor community should also stop funding government because it could refuse to be accountable to the taxpayers based on external support.

Atupele said President Banda had god intention with the brave reforms and the Economic Recovery Programme  which she noted was premised upon demonstrating results and above all transparency and accountability.

He however said President Banda “ made some critical errors” with the retention of key Ministers in her cabinet that were a part of the economic mess in the previous administration.

Atupele said  a serious flaw was unwillingness to make sure that key accountability institutions such as the auditor general, accountants general and the Anti Corruption Bureau – two crucial offices in fighting fraud and corruption in the country – were properly staffed and resourced.

“ It became business as usual in her government and that led to my resignation as Minister,” said Atupele.

But Vice President Khumbo Kachali has said the filling up of the positions of Accountant General and Director of ACB  is evidence that the current regime is serious to ensuring that fraud and corruption were stamped out.

Kachali said the recent arrests of some civil servants after being found with huge sums of money is a clear indication that government is serious in the fight against corruption and fraud, saying government is equally shocked and dismayed over the issue and would ensure that all culprits face the law.

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