Parliament says government duly approved the purchase of the K300 million vehicles for Speaker Richard Msowoya and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera and were bought last year.
This parries away media reports that they were bought this year when the economic situation has worsened.
Leonard Mengezi, parliament’s public relations officer says the vehicles were bought because the former speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda, his two deputy speakers and leader of opposition in parliament, John Tembo bought off the official vehicles they were using with government approval.
“Parliament was hiring vehicles at very high costs for these office bearers because there were no vehicles for use. Procurement and ordering was done in 2014 with all approvals from government,” said Mengezi.
Mengezi said there was no ban for purchase of vehicles at the time.
He said vehicles for deputy speakers Clement Chiwaya and Esther Mcheka Chilenje were delivered in October last year whilst those of Chakwera and Msowoya were delivered in January this year.
‘It is the same government that approved the purchase of the said vehicles; it is surprising that government is now blaming Parliament,” wondered Mengezi.
He then disclosed that the vehicles were already included in the National Assembly’s budget, and that are part of the Speaker, his deputies and the Leader of Opposition’s Conditions of Service.
”The Speaker and his deputies and the Leader of Opposition have Conditions of Service, which were approved by the President. Those Conditions of Service provide for the purchase of vehicles”.
He said the vehicles are similar to all other government cars and that Parliament followed all the procedures in acquiring the said fleet, saying such decisions are not made by the Speaker but Parliamentary Services Commssion.
Some people commenting on social-media argue that government is using the year old story to discredit and silence Chakwera and the MCP who have ganged up with civil society groups to press Peter Mutharika cut down on his foreign trips, stop chartering presidential jets and reduce his entourage when going abroad as cost cutting measures in this hostile economic situation.
Chakwera is MCP president whilst Msowoya is deputy president in the party.—Additional reporting by Maurice Nkawihe, Nyasa Times
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :