The Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi says the presidential jet sale puzzle can only be solved by instituting a commission of inquiry.
CCJP national secretary Chris Chisoni said in an exclusive interview that apart from setting up a commission of inquiry, citizens have an option of taking the matter to court since government has not been forthcoming to explain the whole transaction.
Chisoni was reacting to revelations that have been coming out of media initiative to investigate the sale of the jet which has courted a lot of controversy with the latest information suggesting that the proceeds from the deal could not be traced.
Said Chisoni: “It’s sad that as a nation, we have been tossed left and right with false information ever since the issue about the presidential jet was discovered by the media. It appears as if government has always wanted to remain secretive on this.”
“There have been contradictory, inconsistent and to an extent utterly false information from the beginning with different state apparatuses outwitting each other, however, resultantly with the media exposing more details that oftentimes is catching this government on a back peddle,” he said.
On the looting of public funds at Capital Hill, Chisoni said although government’s public and political rhetoric was of committed administration, the actions, resolve and pace at dealing with the vice were ambiguous.
“Surely, this whole lot amounts into watching a theatre of absurdity orchestrated by the State and its apparatuses to divert our attention from the reality of this scandal. It is, therefore, shocking, unsatisfying and annoying to see our own government navigating us into a sea of crafted misinformation and deliberate machinations to stifle the noble role of the courts,” he said.
He said by shifting the dates as well as the lack of clarity in what was delaying the presentation of the report on the scandal, government was creating a perception that it was hiding something or was not comfortable with the findings of the forensic process.
“It is important that government takes up this issue with utmost seriousness it deserves. An angry nation, a frustrated nation is a dangerous nation. Government needs to be proactive, respond effectively to people’s worries and meet their action plan on the same with timely speed,” he said
However, Minister of Information and Civic Education, Brown Mpinganjira, said during a news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday that the proceeds from the presidential jet sale, K2.4 billion (about $6m) was allocated to Malawi Defence Force for peacekeeping operations, K1.8 billion (about $4.5m) for Farm Input Loan Programme, K1.7 billion (about $4.2m) for medical supplies and K420 million for buying of maize and legumes.
Mpinganjira said forensic auditors would resubmit the cashgate scandal report to the Auditor General by Friday (yesterday) although National Audit Office had not specified the period when it announced the postponed of the presentation.
The minister allayed fears that government officials and politicians involved in the scam would doctor the report saying the British Government, which funded the process, would also release a report in future.