Parliament to meet on Cashgate report in April after dissoution

Parliament is scheduled to meet and deliberate on recent released forensic audit report on Cashgate corruption scandal in the first week of April, days after being dissolved, the Speaker has disclosed.

Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda disclosed in an interview, the august House would meet in an extraordinary or emergency capacity to discuss two monitory bills as well as two forensic audit reports on the Cashgate scandal.

Banda said decision to hold the meeting in April was agreed by the Business Committee of Parliament two weeks ago, comprising of members from government side and three main opposition parties, DPP, UDF and MCP.

Speaker Chimunthu Banda:  To call PAC meeting in April to discuss the report
Speaker Chimunthu Banda: To call PAC meeting in April to discuss the report

Banda said: “Government side requested to push the meeting to early April as it will be concluding its discussions with the World Bank on two monitory bills by end of March. One of the bills relates to MASAF 4 whose resources have already been factored in current budget”.

During the Business Committee meeting, Banda said, government revealed it had embarked on special forensic audit exercise on cashgate which will be ready by end March.

The special forensic audit exercise government is conducting will follow a recent report released by British audit firm, Baker Tilly International which revealed that Malawi Government lost about K13 billion (about $32.5m) in public funds.

Banda said there was nothing bizarre with the meeting shifted to first week of April, arguing the two Cashgate forensic audit reports qualify for emergency meeting.

“I don’t know how people will look at it in legal terms, but the Constitution allows the Head of State in consultation with the Speaker to call for such meetings on specific agenda items. I believe the theft of public funds at Capitol Hill demands an emergency meeting,” he added.

According to Section 67 (4) of the Constitution, the President is allowed to call for emergency or extraordinary meeting of Parliament, which falls out of normal National Assembly’s calendar. It once happened in 1999 when the then UDF led government convened emergency meeting to change elections date.

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