Malawi Government has been accused of handling perpetrators of natural resource abuse with kid gloves, as it seems unperturbed by mafia-like tactics the alleged offenders use.
The culprits allegedly issue death threats, weaken the justice system and force government to pay billions of kwacha in parking fees for containers detained at custom-clearing companies.
The allegations were made by representatives of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change yesterday at a press briefing at the Central Office of Information (COI) in Lilongwe.
The committee has since resolved to meet President Peter Mutharika to urge him to take action against some of his Cabinet ministers and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bigwigs it named in an investigative report on alleged culprits plundering the nation’s natural resources.
“On the issues of death threats, let me confirm that we are receiving them up to now and no arrests have been made yet,” said Reverend Mwai Kamuyambeni, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ntcheu West and a member of the committee.
Committee vice-chairperson Alex Major (MP for Kasungu West) lamented that of the 12 cases of destroying timber, government has only won two, where convicted people paid petty fines.
Said Major: “As I am talking to you, we have about 44 containers of illegal Mukula logs at Manica. Government is paying about K500 000 every week for those containers.”
On his part, committee chair Werani Chilenga (MP for Chitipa South) accused officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining of deliberately dragging their feet in giving the Forestry Act and its laws teeth with which to bite those who abuse natural resources.
He said the committee members will want to know what action the President will take on the alleged culprits named in the report as he was honoured as champion of the environment during his recent trip to Washington DC in the United States of America.