Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP) Kamlepo Kalua (People’s Party-PP) has accused the government of turning a blind eye to its own extravagance through the purchase of vehicles he claimed were worth K4 billion ($7,142,857).
In his contribution to the State Opening of Parliament Address made by President Peter Mutharika on Friday, Kalua yesterday challenged that he was ready with evidence, including chassis numbers of the vehicles, if asked to prove his allegations.
The remarks by Kalua are coming at a time when Parliament and the Executive are at loggerheads over the purchase of vehicles for the offices of the Speaker and Leader of Opposition.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango, who is the official government spokesperson, has accused the Legislature of spending K300 million ($535,714) on the vehicles at a time when the government is reprioritising in the time of no budgetary support.
But the Parliament Secretariat has defended the purchase of the vehicles which they say was approved by the Office of the President and Cabinet and delivered in November last year.
In his remarks, Kalua claimed that the Executive had spent K650 million to buy top-of-the-range Toyota Prado VX models for the presidential convoy and four Toyota Landcruiser V8 models for the Vice-President.
Kalua also alleged that the Executive bought 10 Toyota Prados for senior officials and 30 vehicles of a similar make for principal secretaries in government.
“The Executive claims that National Assembly has misappropriated money yet National Assembly doesn’t handle money. If they want evidence, I have it including chassis numbers. In total the government spent K3 billion on vehicles yet they are misinforming people. Why?” Kalua said.
However, when leader of the House Francis Kasaila stood on a point of order, he did not comment on the allegations and neither did deputy government chief whip Grace Chiumia who instead remarked on Kalua’s later assertions that the government was ignoring the Northern Region on development activities.
Kalua claimed the government had promised to construct 10 kilometres of tarmac roads in each constituency but there was no evidence of that happening.
He also accused the Democractic Progressive Party (DPP) of promoting regionalism, citing the example of the appointment of the Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba by the President while reports claim the successful candidate was High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire followed by Grace Malera.
In response to Kalua’s allegations, Kasaila said he was aware that the United Democratic Front (UDF) administration used to reward him, but the DPP government would not do that.