Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has challenged Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament vice-chairperson Kamlepo Kalua to come forward and disclose names of serving Cabinet ministers implicated in the recent forensic audit report.
Speaking yesterday in Thyolo where President Peter Mutharika launched construction works for the Thyolo-Thekerani Muona Road, Kaliati challenged Kalua to seek advice from Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu so that he can be granted an immunity and disclose the names.
Said Kaliati: “By associating the ministers with the forensic audit report, Kalua is insinuating that we are all thieves. This is defamation and may also incite violence in the country.”
Apparently, Kalua had been vocal in demanding the dismissal of the said seven Cabinet ministers named in the forensic audit report covering the period 2009 to December 2014 which established that about K236 billion and not K577 billion in public funds as initially estimated could not be accounted for.
On Monday afternoon, Mutharika gave Kalua, who is also Rumphi East member of Parliament (People’s Party-PP) and PP third vice-president, until Tuesday to provide the information. But as the 24-hour ultimatum expired, Kalua challenged that he would not provide the names as per Mutharika’s request because he had no such mandate as it was a legal issue.
In his remarks at the launch yesterday, DPP regional governor for the south Charles Mchacha said as a member of PAC, he had not seen the list of the names in the said report as claimed by Kalua.
Kalua argued that the President could not claim that he did not have the names when the Attorney General had advised Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa against releasing the names when the latter presented the audit report to Parliament in June.
The lack of detail such as names of the alleged culprits has irked some sections of society which have accused the President of shielding ministers involved.
The bone of contention has arisen from a data analysis carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released in May 2015 which estimated the unreconciliated funds at K577 billion.
However, British firm RSM Risk Assurance LLP, in its forensic audit report, established that the unaccounted for funds were K236 billion.