Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says it is still not convinced with the explanation provided by Minister of Finance Maxwell Mkwezalamba on the disposal of the presidential jet in a barter-like transaction.
During a press conference on Wednesday in Lilongwe, Mkwezalamba said that the money realised from the jet sale was used to offset a loan the Malawi Government owed to Paramount Group for the purchase of military equipment.
This explanation came a day after President Joyce Banda had previously claimed that proceeds from the sale were used to buy maize, fertiliser for the Farm Input Loan Programme (Filp) and military equipment.
But MCP secretary general Gustave Kaliwo, speaking in an interview yesterday, said both the President and the minister are not giving convincing explanations to the nation and has demanded for more.
Kaliwo wondered why proceeds from the jet were used on military equipment when the Ministry of Defence has its own vote.
He said: “Military expenditures fall under the Ministry of Defence vote. Any financial transaction could have passed through the Defence vote. And if the money allocated was not enough, then Parliament, which was bypassed, should have come in.”
Kaliwo observed that more suspicion is coming because the same company that bought the jet was used to provide public relations services to the President’s government and also allowed her to use the jet for free.
He accused the President of pushing pertinent questions to other people when she is supposed to be knowledgeable of what is happening in the country.
“We chose the President who should know what is happening in the country. But to pretend to be ignorant and push questions to [Chief Secretary to the Government Hawa] Ndilowe, (Health Minister Catherine) Gotani Hara or Mkwezalamba is giving a bad picture.
“I was in police where we were told that you are responsible for everything that happens at your squad and, if you do not know, you are double responsible.”
He disclosed that MCP is looking at options to take and has not ruled out taking the matter to court.
However, Mkwezalamba announced that all scepticism about the jet sale would be made official during the mid-term budget or 2014-15 national budget.