The Council of NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA) has called for the institution of a public hearing over the K4 billion given to Members of Parliament (MPs) for projects.
CONGOMA which is the umbrella body for nongovernmental organisations also wants the Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate the issue and prosecute any criminal elements involved.
Last week, Minister of Finance allocated K4 billion to 86 constituencies without Parliaments’ approval. The move incensed the left out MPs who said they would not approve the allocation. But after discussions, government agreed to share the money among all 193 MPs and later the legislators legalised the money.
In a statement signed by its chairperson Steven Duwa, CONGOMA says a public hearing on the issue of the K4 billion fund will provide the executive branch of government an opportunity to regain public trust.
“[It] is a serious public trust, transparency and accountability issue that Malawians should tirelessly press their elected leaders at all levels to account. If this does not happen, democracy, good governance and development will continue to suffer in Malawi. We call upon our members to empower the Communities and achieve open Government,” the body says.
CONGOMA in its statement has condemned government for practising politics of appeasement by initially allocating the money to constituencies of MPs who voted against the electoral reforms bills last year.
“The action of the Executive to hide and secretly distribute funds to friends and comrades raises serious issues of public trust and confidence around safety of the public purse,” the statement says.
The body has also lambasted Parliament for normalising the expenditure even though government refused to reveal the source of the money.
“What if the source is through corruption or plunder of public resources? Will Parliament deny complicity?” says the statement.