Malawi’s Member of Parliament yesterday labelled the former ruling DPP cabinet as incompetent after he said they allowed themselves to be lied to by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officials, who are currently at the centre of the commercial banks borrowing saga along Finance Minister Ken Lipenga.
In his contribution to the 2012/2013 budget, the MP for Balaka south, George Nnesa, also demanded an apology from Lipenga over the MRA saga saying he is vindicated now that the truth is known that the tax collector had borrowed money to sex up the national revenues.
“When this MRA issue came up, I was heckled and jeered by a number of senior DPP ministers in the name of collective responsibility. I was even called malicious and aiming at tarnishing the reputations of officers at MRA,” said Nnensa.
The MP, who first brought to light the saga, also called on the Cabinet Ministers which were involved to take responsibility over the matter.
“Now that the truth has come out, they have to take responsibility as a team. If they knew the truth, then they lied to Parliament and the nation. If they claim that they did not know, then the cabinet was incompetent. The nation and I demand an apology from the responsible minister,” said Nnensa.
The Parliamentarian also said the MRA saga should be a wake-up call to the PP government and be aware that they are whistle blowers who follow each and every government action and move to be “more on its toes and transparent.”
Lipenga is facing investigations from a three-member cabinet committee headed by Vice President Khumbo Kachali. But observers say he will be let off the hook
Ephraim Munthali an economic commentator says Lipenga is a “career spinner.”
In his analysis published in The Nation newspaper, Munthali wrote that Lipenga “spinned for Malawi’s second president Bakili Muluzi as press secretary and later did the same as Information Minister. He sexed-up messages for the late Mutharika also as Information Minister during the departed leader’s first few months of his first term.”
Lipenga admitted MRA borrowed about K15 billion from commercial banks to portray that it had surpassed its revenue target but said he did not participate or authorise the move.
Munthali also called on Joseph Mwanamvekha, the sacked Secretary to the Treasury who was the technical head, to be “smoked out from wherever he is” to use his late appointing authority’s words—and be held accountable for the role he may or may not have played in the scam.
He also called on the person heading the Revenue Division in the Ministry of Finance to step aside to pave the way for investigations.