Lilongwe City Council has refused to grant permission to the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) to hold a vigil at Parliament Building from Wednesday over the smuggling of the money Bill to Parliament.
Lilongwe City Council spokesperson Tamala Chafunya yesterday said the council had denied Cdedi the permission due to Covid-19 restrictions and security as the country hosts the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Summit.
Side meetings of the regional bloc started yesterday ahead of the 41st Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government.
In a statement and letters served to Lilongwe City Council and Malawi Police, Cdedi said it panned to hold the vigil until Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba, Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara, and Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda address issues surrounding the Bill.
Reads the statement signed by the organisation’s executive director Silvester Namiwa: “Cdedi’s decision to hold a vigil at the Parliament building, follows an expiry of a 48-hour ultimatum we gave madam Kalemba, honourable Gotani Hara, honourable Chimwendo Banda, and the Leader of Opposition, honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa, who has since given his side of the story, as per our earlier demands.
“Malawians may wish to recall that the Nation Publications Limited [NPL], reported last week, that the draft piece, No. 22 of 2021, Bank of Baroda [construction of residential houses under the National Housing Project, and various security institutions], Loan Authorisation Bill, allowing the Malawi government to borrow K93 billion, to finance the construction of houses for security agency workers in the country, found its way onto the order paper in the National Assembly, mysteriously.
“In view of this, Cdedi demanded President Dr Lazarus Chakwera to act decisively on the matter, by instituting an independent committee to investigate the scandal and report back to Malawians within 30 days.
“We further demanded Hon. Gotani-Hara, Hon. Chimwendo Banda, Hon. Nankhumwa, and madam Kalemba, to exonerate themselves,” the statement reads.
Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye said they are aware that there is public interest in the matter, but there are also investigations taking place on the Bill; hence, commenting on it would jeopardise investigations.
He said Parliament will only make a statement after investigations.
Recently, this paper reported that a money Bill was smuggled to Parliament without following proper processes and knowledge of key stakeholders such as the Attorney General, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice.