The Ministry of Local Government says it will this week issue a report detailing how government spent funds allocated for the 57th Independence Anniversary Celebrations on July 6.
In an interview at the weekend, Ministry of Local Government Principal Secretary Charles Kalemba, who chaired the celebrations’ technical committee, said a report will be ready by the end of this week.
He said: “After the event, expenses are paid in the following week. Thereafter, we consolidate the expenses. Therefore, you should expect the report to be ready the next week.”
His reaction followed a request from the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) on Friday for government to make public a detailed expenditure report amid claims that more funds than budgeted were spent on the celebrations.
In a letter dated July 16 2021 and addressed to the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga Zanga Chikhosi, Cdedi claimed that instead of K46 million, about K238.3 million was withdrawn for the event.
“We are making this request based on our investigations, whose results have shown that a commercial bank account number 19700 000 56939, held at FDH Bank, under the name Chief Secretary to Government, receipted funds amounting to K238 286 196 on July 2 2021, being funds meant for the 2021 Independence Day celebrations.
“Ironically, Malawians were told by the chairperson for the celebrations, Honourable Richard Chimwendo-Banda, that government had trimmed the budget for the celebrations from the initial K240 million to K46 million,” reads the letter signed Cdedi executive director Slyvester Namiwa.
Cdedi asked the Office of the President and Cabinet to issue the report within seven days.
Malawi celebrated the 57th Independence Anniversary from British rule on July 6 with an interdenominational service of worship in Lilongwe attended by President Lazarus Chakwera, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, former president Joyce Banda and other dignitaries.
Initially, the celebrations were planned to take place in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu at an estimated cost of K240 million. However, the celebrations were scaled down due to concerns that the event could be a ‘Covid-19 super spreader’.
Some also felt the initial budget of K240 million for the event could have been better used to fight the pandemic.