Revelations that High Education Students Loan Board has spent over MK17 million for the organisation’s diaries and loan forms has appalled and incensed most Malawians as the cost deviates from the institution’s core mission of providing loans to needy students and Dedza East member of Parliament (MP) Juliana Lunguzi is calling for review of the legislation.
One of the news outlet reported that the institution, popularly known as the ‘Students’ Loans Board’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Chisoni even authorised that the printing process be handled by EE & A Enterprise, a company which allegedly belongs to his wife, Esther Chisoni.
And more shocking are further allegations that this is not the first time that the Loans Board did business with EE & A Enterprise, which led to the firing of its Finance and Administration Manager for questioning such dealings.
Posting on Facebook page, renowned writer and social critic Stanley Onjezani Kenani opened a hot debate over the issue by questioning the rationale of such huge spending.
“The Board has spent K17 million on what it calls “loan forms and diaries.” Really? Do they need to spend all that money on printing forms? Do they need to spend a fortune on diaries?” queried Kenani.
“Can’t they just be buying papers and printing the forms themselves? As far as I know, there are less than 8,000 applicants this academic year. Assuming each uses one form, K100,000 would be more than enough to print all of them.
“It’s not as though they are printing money. These forms require no particular security features, after all applicants’ names are validated by the academic institutions where they belong. I smell a rat. There could be something going on that we do not know. I wish this was audited.”
Louis Mlangiza-Banda responded by saying: “Which forms? Some applicants download forms on their own from the website www.heslgb.mwto fill. As for diaries, well, for who? The workforce at this organisation is quite small.”
On another post Fumu Yikoleko said it is absurd to spend so much in printing diaries against a situation where the country continues to have so many students failing to pay tuition fees in public universities.
“MK17million by any standard is a lot of money. The CEO of Loans Board should explain to Malawians the rationale behind this obscene procurement. If he cannot convince us, the procurement should be reversed and he should resign.
“It would appear he doesn’t know the reason the organisation he is working for was set up for,” Yikoleko said.
Dorothy Tembo Nhlema confessed that that was the more reason she is justified in her not repaying her university tuition loans.
“Give me a student, I will pay for him or her…. I cannot [repay], mark my words…Muzikagula ma diary nkumaba (you want to steal in the name of printing diaries?”
Levi Zeleza Manda responded to her by saying, “Some of us foresaw this and we refused to pay back anything to the state. Our country is milking us dry.”
Vera Kamtukule said: “This is appalling. As someone who repaid my loan at this very board, I.am particularly disgusted!”
Gerald Chimbalame said this development is really pathetic taking into consideration that many students are in the universities yet they struggle to pay for their own food “yet their loans “board is spending such huge amount on useless things like diaries.”
Levi Chirwa took swipe at the Board’s CEO, saying Chisoni used to be very vocal when tackling governance issues whilst at Catholic Diocese arm.
“[But] now he is partaking in looting government resources. He has thrown away his Christian values, if he had any at all. Let him be probed too. But as usual there are so many sources of funding through corrupt ways, he will be spared. Believe me!
“This is surprising when profit making organisations cannot afford expensive calendars or diaries and paper printing.
Levi Chirwa joined others who asked the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe the issue, saying: “What else do they want? The copy invoice is [available] and they know what the Loans Board is mandated to do. The expenditure appears out of line, unless vindicated by investigation.
“[The] diaries [are] for how many members of staff? Who are part of the Board’s clients befitting a diary, for what? Are they distributing to students who repaid loans as a thank you gesture? Nothing adds up. How many application forms and dairies [and] of what quality to be worth that much?” Chirwa queried.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislator Lunguzi moved a motion on Tuesday calling for a reveiew of the Higher Education Students Loands and Grants Boards.
The private member’s motion will be moved on Thursday, February 22, a day designated for private members business as motions, petitions and constituency statements.
According to the Order Paper, Lunguzi wants the Parliamentary Committee on Education to examine the Higher Education Students Loans Actof 2015.
She wants the review to address the great gap that exists and accommodate everyone.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :