About 63 outgoing councillors in Salima, Kasungu Municipality, Mchinji, Karonga and Mulanje are yet to receive their gratuity despite Treasury releasing funds for all 462 councillors early this month. on May 9.
According to the 2014 list of councillors released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the affected councillors include 10 in Salima, 11 in Kasungu Municipality, 12 in Mchinji, 10 in Karonga and 20 in Mulanje.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho acknowledged the challenge, faulting the affected councillors for giving wrong bank details.
But former councillor for Kalonga Ward in Salima, Janet Chipeni disputed the ministry’s explanation.
“There is no way all of us could have given wrong account details. We use these bank accounts almost on daily basis how come they are the only ones having challenges dealing with our accounts?” she asked.
She said the councillors have been to Treasury and to the ministry only to be told that “they are working on rectifying the challenge”.
The ministry announced on May 9 that Treasury had released K231 million for the outgoing councillors gratuity, who are expected to receive K500 000 each.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mughogho said the National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGFC) was working to resolve the challenge.
“Government released funds as indicated weeks ago. For those that have not yet received their gratuity, it means there are issues with their bank details; hence; failure for banks to process their money. NLGFC assisted in rectifying some of the problems,” she said.
A statement released on May 9, 2019, signed by Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Charles Kalemba stated that government had started dispersing gratuity to the 462 councillors who retired on March 20 2019 ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Kalemba said it was expected that all councillors would have their gratuity in their bank accounts by not later than May 10 2019.
The councillors served in local authorities for the past five years.