The Minister of Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo, has vowed that she will not resign over the ‘plunder’ of US$50 million (about K40 billion), saying she was not the minister by the time of the free-for-all distribution of the public resources by officials at the ministry.
This week, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) demanded that Tembo should account for the money or resign within 72 hours.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa claimed that officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources have been dodging the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change, in their futile attempt to conceal the mess.
“While commending the oversight role the committee has played in fulfilling their mandate, we are giving the responsible Minster, Hon. Nancy Tembo, 72 hours to either account for the funds, or to honourably step down. Thus far, Hon. Nancy Tembo has joined the likes of the Information Minister Gospel Kazako, and the Deputy Minister of Transport Nancy Chiola, on President Dr. Lazarus Chakweras chopping list, since these Cabinet ministers have either been sleeping on the job, while the public resources were being plundered, or they gave their blessings to the malpractice,” he demanded.
But in a written response to our questionnaire, Tembo said she was not part of the public officers who looted the public resources through a bogus tree fake planting exercise in the Shire River Basin.
“The project was from September 2012 to January 2019, way before I became MP or Minister. I responded to the question [in Parliament] because government is a continuous process,” she said.
Meanwhile, Nyasa Times has established that Eliot Taylor was the team leaders for the Shire River Basin Management Plan Project through which US$50 million was allegedly looted.
Taylor says the total cost of the project was US$40 million and this included planning, markets, roads, bridges, a community conservation fund and planting a lot of trees in Blantyre, Zomba, Ntcheu, Neno and Mangochi.
He is convinced that the trees and other project outputs are still there.
The revelation of the plunder of resources at the Ministry of Natural Resources came barely a few days after the nation was awoken to a series of scandals of abuse of public funds reported to have taken place at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) and the Roads Authority (RA), among others.
Namiwa this week appealed to the newly confirmed Director General of the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), Martha Chizuma, to expeditiously institute a probe into reports of abuse of public funds in MDAs.
He said it is disheartening for the ordinary Malawians to be celebrating 57 years of independence while weighed down with trenches of abject poverty, denied the same human rights they gallantly fought for and oppressed socially and economically by “this very insensitive administration”.
He also asked President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to act on the reports.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :