The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called on Speaker and Clerk of Parliament Catherine Gotani and Fiona Kalemba respectively to explain how the Bank of Baroda Loan Authorization Bill ended up on Parliament’s order paper.
Nation Newspaper reported earlier this week that the draft piece, No. 22 of 2021, Bank of Baroda (construction of residential houses under the National Housing Project, and various security institutions), Loan Authorisation Bill, allowing the Malawi government to borrow K93 billion to finance the construction of houses for security men in the country, found its way onto the Order Paper in the National Assembly, mysteriously. It was also reported that the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice were bypassed.
In a statement that has been released today, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa noted that all the loans which government secures through processes such as loan authorization bills which are deliberated and passed in Parliament, are paid back through taxpayers’ money.
He said such decisions to secure loans, should be made in the best interest of all Malawians.
“But this has not most often, been the case. Now that we know the main architects that are involved in this unprecedented matter, following the arrests that have been made so far by the police, it is everyone’s expectation to know the motive behind this shoddy act.
“Thus far, CDEDI, and indeed all Malawians of good will, are deeply shocked with the deafening silence from the Clerk of Parliament Madam Fiona Kalemba the only person authorized by law to bring bills before the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the House and the Leader of opposition for deliberation before they appear on the order paper,” he explained.
Namiwa noted that the Clerk is also responsible for getting of the bills in the Government Gazette.
He said all the critical questions surrounding the mysterious bill can ably be handled by Kalemba as such her silence and that of her own boss Gotani Hara is creating an impression that the two suspects that have been arrested in connection with the matter, did the job single handedly, without the help of any official from Parliament .
Namiwa also asked President Lazarus Chakwera to act by instituting an independent committee to investigate the scandal within 30 days.
Chakwera’s former aide Pastor Martin Thom and a senior official at the Ministry of Finance were arrested on Tuesday on allegations that they smuggled the bill to Parliament.