Malawi: Parliament Has Abused State Resources - Government
Government on Monday alleged that Parliament has abused state resources on external travels at the expense of parliamentary committee meetings which have not been taking place as expected.
Leader of the House in Parliament, Francis Kasaila, who is also Minister of Transport and Public Works, and Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education, Jappie Mhango, made the allegations at a press briefing in Lilongwe.
The two ministers convened the meeting to brief the press on the relevance of the Lilongwe City West By-pass Road and to catalogue business of the next sitting of parliament which commences on Friday, 6 November.
Kasaila said Parliament report indicates that the institution had been given MK1.6bn for the first quarter of the financial year and that just mid October treasury had disbursed part fund of MK400m from the MK1.1bn requested for the second quarter.
"With the MK400m disbursed in October treasury has assured parliament that the remaining amount will be made available soon," explained Kasaila, adding, "Parliament should not lie to the public that it has not been getting funding. With all that funding I do not see any reason why parliamentary committees should not be meeting.
"It's just that parliament office bearers do not see parliamentary work as priority and instead, they are spending more money on external travels when everybody else is cutting on the same."
The leader of the House further said parliament had brought forward a motion pushing for more independence so that the arm of government "should be able to abuse the funds without being audited".
Information, Tourism & Civic Education minister, Jappie Mhango concurred with Kasaila and accused the Parliamentary Services Committee (PSC) and the office of the speaker of having blown funds more that their means.
"Parliament has abused state resources," said Mhango. "The Parliamentary Service Committee has spent more than 52 percent of the total annual allocation; and the office of the speaker has spent over 50 percent of the total annual allocation just in 3 months."
Mhango urged the media to check with the speaker's office and the parliamentary secretariat for the report on the expenditures.
But spokesperson for Parliament, Leonard Mengezi, declined to comment on the allegations saying the speaker's office was better placed to answer.
"Those issues were discussed in business committee so as spokesperson for parliament I cannot comment on that," said Mengezi before referring this reporter to the office of the speaker.
But the Speaker, Richard Msowoya, could not be reached for a comment despite several attempts that were made.