Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have threatened to drag government to court if President Peter Mutharika does not fire Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa over the controversial K4 billion scam.
The President has since been given seven days to act.
CSOs leaders, who include Youth and Society (YAS), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep), made the demands at a press briefing in Mzuzu yesterday.
But State House press secretary Mgeme Kalilani has said the CSOs are misrepresenting facts on the matter, to the extent of dragging the President into the issue.
He said it is a serious misrepresentation to present the matter as if the funds are being given to MPs as individuals. He also defended Gondwe on the matter.
“The role of the Minister of Finance in the public funds appropriation process is to present, and where need be, explain appropriation proposals before Parliament. MPs deliberate on the proposals and decide whether to grant approval for government to spend or not.
“If the MPs are satisfied with the proposals, they grant approval to the government to spend accordingly. In other words, the granting or denial of approval to spend is not within the powers of the Minister of Finance,” he explained.
According to Kalilani, the two ministers did not do anything warranting to be fired as all procedures on the matter were duly followed.
Under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF), the CSOs question until this impunity stops. Let me also warn Chakwera not to take Malawians for granted. He was part of an illegal activity in Parliament and he cannot distance himself now,” he said.nationwide demonstrations
But Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka, in an interview yesterday, said Chakwera is siding with Malawians on the issue.
“When the leader of opposition got a tip off about this issue, he spoke against it in Parliament. He denounced this abuse of public resources. He did his part in Parliament and MCP has not changed its stand on the matter.
“Therefore, I don’t see how he should be asked to apologise, because in Parliament, he spoke denouncing it to arouse public anger so that people start talking about this issue,” said Mkaka.
In a related development, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) on Thursday released a statement describing the scam as a clear portrayal of mismanagement of public funds and evidence of a leadership that is corrupt and lacks integrity.
At first, the money was reportedly earmarked for only 86 constituencies belonging to legislators on the government side and those supporting the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), with each constituency being allocated about K40 million.