Malawi government has disclosed that the country spent K80 million for Independence Day celebrations on July 6.
Chairperson of the organizing committee for the celebrations Joseph Mwanamvekha said the initial budget was pegged at K100 million but President Peter Mutharika ordered a cut of costs.
Speaking to members of the press in Lilongwe, Mwanamvekha said the committee chose not to disclose the cost at first as they had a plan to account for every expense.
“All the process, despatch of funds was done following audit procedure and following Public Finance Management Act and all relevant procedures and regulations,” said Mwanamvekha.
During the celebrations, there was a stampede at Bingu National Stadium where 8 people died and over 40 sustained injuries. Some Malawians criticised the organisers for going ahead with the celebrations following the tragedy.
But Mwanamvekha said the football match between Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets went on despite the stampede since some soccer lovers had planned to riot if the organisers cancelled the game.
Mwanamvekha also disclosed that his committee recommended early opening of the gates at Bingu National Stadium.
He was disputing claims that the organisers ordered that gates should be opened at 9am. Late opening of the gates is believed to have caused the stampede.