As nine of the 10 Electoral Commissioners leave office, they may, among other things, go away with their official vehicles-top-of-the range Toyota Land Cruiser TX Prados.
All the outgoing commissioners have expressed interest to buy off at 10 percent of the purchase value of the vehicles government bought for them at a total cost K549.6 million three years ago, according to MEC’s media and public relations director Sangwani Mwafulirwa.
The development is likely to create mobility problems for the incoming commissioners as Treasury has not accommodated MEC’s request to Treasury to purchase new vehicles for the commissioners in 2016/17 budget.
President Peter Mutharika is expected to appoint new commissioners following the expiry of the term of the current commissioners on May 18 2016
In the conditions of service that Parliament approved in 2015, MEC commissioners are entitled to buy off their institutional vehicles which are now at their disposal. Section 4.2.2 of the Conditions of Service that Parliament approved in 2015, reads: “Chairperson and the commissioners shall be provided with official personal to holder vehicles with entitlement to purchase the same when it clocks five years or at the end of the contract whichever is earlier at 10 percent of the original cost. The commissioners are also entitled to K10 million loans for the purchase of personal duty free motor vehicles.
Mwafulirwa said there will be no cars for the incoming commissioners as the outgoing commissioners have already expressed interest to buy off their vehicles.
In an email response on Wednesday, Mwafulirwa said in the 2016/17 financial budget MEC made a provision for the purchase of 11 vehicles for the new commissioners, however, the provision has not been accommodated.
He said: “Because of the budget ceilings that were given by the Ministry of Finance. We are not buying the vehicles.”
Mwafulirwa, further, said all the outgoing commissioners expressed interest to buy the vehicles in line with their conditions of service.
“The conditions of services for commissioners say that they can buy the vehicles at 10 percent of the purchase value. This means that each vehicle will be sold at K4.58 million. However, the Commissioners will also be expected to pay duty to Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA),” he said.
The vehicles were bought at K19 million (duty free). A source at Toyota Malawi said after a four-year period the vehicles could have depreciated by K13 million. The same vehicles are currently selling at K39.7 million duty free.
Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati confirmed that discussions on the purchase of vehicles for the incoming commissioners were ongoing but said it would not be wise to start looking at the issue of vehicles when new commissioners have not been appointed yet. n