Deputy speakers for the Malawi parliament have been caught up in dubious housing allowances scandal which the nation is eager to know how fair the country’s law would be perfected in their cases as some commentators have quickly noted that the act of the top law makers is nothing but another cash gate.
Deputy speakers for the Malawi National Assembly are entitled to MK 250,000 each as a monthly housing allowance if they stay in their own houses but instead of drawing the legal amounts the first deputy speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje and second deputy speaker Clement Chiwaya each is alleged to be drawing MK 300,000 more each month.
The second in command parliamentarians are reported to have cheated the government that they rent the houses they stay in from elsewhere so that each could be carting home MK 550,000 every month in housing allowances.
Many people have bemoaned the development saying the country has nowhere to look up to for checks and balances since parliament would be at pains to police the other arms of government if it is in the forefront engaging in malpractices.
Executive director of centre for human rights and rehabilitation Timothy Mtambo notes that if what has been laid bare is true, then it is nothing but another cash gate and a blow to parliament as it raises some moral issues that puts parliament in an awkward position as it can not check the other arms of government when it also abuses its systems.
“This could be another cash gate and the ACB has to deal with it so that peolple should desist from abusing public funds, otherwise this is a big problem because it wil be difficult for them to have a moral integrity to perform checks and balances on other braches of government,” noted Mtambo as quoted in Weekend Nation.
While official records at the Land Registry are reported to be indicating that a house in Area 47 in the capital Malawi which is on plot number 47/1/42 belongs to Esther Mcheka Chilenje, the first deputy speaker is said to have declared that she lives in a rented house which resulted in Mouse House Estates Agency claim a payment of MK 3.3 million as rental payment from July to December 2014.
On his part, the second deputy speaker, Clement Chiwaya, claims that while he owns the house he is staying in, the Mangochi central parliamentarian claims that he has not fully bought the house.
He told Weekend Nation that he is interested to buy the house from Tsogolani Estates agent, records show that claimed payment of MK 3.3 million on August 27 2014 for rentals of the deputy second speaker for a house in the Lilongwe’s Gulliver area 49 on plot number 49/1/921.
Nyasa Times understands that both Mcheka-Chilenje and Chiwaya leased the said houses from Malawi Housing Corporation for a period of 99 years on February 23 2002 and June 9 2014, respectively, although administrators at the two estates agents claim that they do let out the houses to the two.
Weekend Nation quotes Patricia Banda of Mouse House estates agents that they rent the house that official records show belongs to Mcheka-Chilenje to her raising eye blows as to who is cheating who.
At Tsogolani estates agency, the paper quotes Nathene Kadewere saying that they own the Gulliver house that Chiwaya is staying in hence the claim for the rentals. But records at the Lands registry show otherwise.
Interestingly, both legislatures are reported to have used the said properties as collateral for bank loans, an indication that they own the houses that they declared to government that they are rented.
Nyasa Times is yet to establish who owns the estate agents and how much they might have pocketed out of the deal. It is also not yet established what the Reserve Bank would do to the estate agents if established that they entered into wrong financial dealings, and what the banks where the two took loans from would do upon hearing that the two declared to the government that they do not own such properties.
If proved to be true the conduct of the two it is a big blow to the nation as it is also tantamount to cheating which could lead to loss of trust by both their respective constituents and the parliamentarians they lead in the August House as it means that both groups voted wrong people in decision making positions.
CHRR says the conduct by the deputy speakers is not only unacceptable but unfair and disappointing considering that the nation regards parliament as a beacon of hope in ensuring that there is integrity and control of abuse of power, positions and resource currently rampant in the executive arm of government.
“Our country is struggling and limping economically at the very same time the social service delivery is in a pathetic state, so it is worrying when other people we trusted to inspire and bring integrity to the public are in the forefront perpetrating malpractices,” Mtambo said, observing g that at the receiving is the ordinary person who is the victim and that the rights of people continue to be violated heavily.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :