The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) report to Parliament has faulted Speaker Richard Msowoya and Parliament secretariat for authorising two deputy speakers, Esther Mcheka-Chilenje and Clement Chiwaya, to collect house allowances when they were living in their own houses.
The report has further highlighted that the Speaker’s house allowance, amounting to K750 000 (about $1 500), as well as the deputy speakers’ allowances, had not been approved by Parliament.
The report has since recommended that administration clerk Leonard Mapemba be disciplined as he is the one that made the speakers take advantage of the system to claim the taxpayers’ money.
In a telephone interview yesterday, ACB deputy director general Reyneck Matemba confirmed that the bureau had submitted the report to Parliament for action, but said he could not give more details as the matter is not in the hands of Parliament.
“We have submitted our investigations report to Parliament on allegations that we received in relation to the two deputy speakers, you may wish to liase with Parliament secretariat; they should be able to tell how they are going to handle our findings and recommendations,” Matemba said.
However, when contacted, Msowoya told The Nation he had not seen the report.
On his public Facebook account, Second Deputy Speaker Chiwaya wrote yesterday that ACB had cleared him.
His posting reads: “Dear Friends, I write to advise that the Anti-Corruption Bureau has released a report on its investigations on our alleged fraud on housing allowances. This investigation has taken over nine months.
“I am happy to report that the Anti-Corruption Bureau has finally cleared us because it could not find evidence of corruption. I want to thank my wife and family here in Lilongwe, Mangochi, Zomba, US and all over for standing behind me. To you my friends, for believing in me. It is time for me to move forward with my life, but mostly thank God for making me strong at a time when nobody wanted to believe my story. May the [good Lord] Continue to bless you all.”
However, according to sources who have seen the report, the two have not been cleared as the report recommends that the matter be referred to Fiscal Police and that Parliament secretariat should recover the money because the bureau cannot successfully try them.
The report has further faulted the secretariat of negligence on abuse of office by Speakers for getting house allowances that were not approved by the President.
Last year, our sister paper Weekend Nation exposed a housing allowance scandal at Parliament involving Chiwaya and the first Deputy Speaker Mcheka-Chilenje.
The two were accused of drawing K300 000 (about $450) on top of their monthly housing allowances of K250 000 (about $400) each that they are entitled to if living in their own houses.
The revelations drew public outrage, with concerned parties lodging a complaint to ACB to investigate the two public officers. n