LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday demanded resignation of the Malawi Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe for illegal role played in the MK4 billion scandal in which the Members of Parliament unanimously agreed to share among themselves.

The CSOs says the role Finance Minister Gondwe played is reaping tax-payers resources with blatant disregard to the country’s laws such as the Appropriation Act and Constitution of Malawi

The call comes after the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) over the weekend backtracked its earlier decision saying will not be part and parcel of share.

Below is the full statement Malawi CSOs on demands for Gondwe’s resignation made available to The Maravi Post;

We, members of the civil society, are deeply disturbed and riled at the illegal role the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development played in the MK4 billion scandal in which the Members of Parliament unanimously agreed to share among themselves the tax-payers’ resources with blatant disregard to the country’s laws such as the Appropriation Act and Constitution of Malawi.

Cognizant of the fact that the country is still reeling from the bitter aftertaste of cash-gate scandal uncovered in 2013, the recent K 4 billion saga has only heightened and confirmed our long-held fears that cash-gate style of plundering public resources still remains the country’s elusive vice.

We, members of civil society, thus, find the Minister’ conduct not only beneath his resume, but a huge betrayal to citizens’ trust in him as the country’s purse keeper. The Minister’s conduct also flies irritatingly in the face of the much-touted fiscal discipline by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government. Malawians have been taken for a ride, once again.

In fact, the demand for fiscal prudence needs no stressing in Malawi. With over 70 percent of the country’s population hovering hopelessly below the poverty line, exacerbated by the ever stunted Gross Domestic Product per capita now at only US$1 113, the government should have been leading in ensuring that every penny is well- planned, well-budgeted and expended to letter and spirit of the laws of the country.

Since the introduction of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) some 12 years ago, the fund has been massively abused by Parliamentarians who have literally usurped local government councils’ roles on the development package, thereby creating a false and criminal impression that the kitty is their personal fund. Yet, in light of all these cases of wanton CDF abuse, the Finance Minister has gone a step further by rewarding parliamentarians with K4billion. Could we be serious, for once?

In fact, we, members of the civil society, find it disconcerting that the Mr. Goodall Gondwe has been preaching austerity during every Budget Statement presentation in parliament, yet today, he is leading parliamentarians in a nefarious and desperate act of self-aggrandizement at the cost the of suffering Malawians. For sure, this cunningness and hypocrisy does not augur well with the spirit of austerity and fiscal discipline.

What we, members of civil society find most shocking is that the Finance Minister, with complicity of all Parliamentarians across political divides, decided to throw accountability measures through the window in a typical case of State Capture motivated by greed and political appeasement.

We find this not only deplorable but illegal. Chapter III of the Constitution, architecture of accountability in Malawi, expressly emphasizes the need for accountability.

Reads Section 12 (iii) for instance; “The authority to exercise power of State is conditional upon
the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open,
accountable and transparent Government and informed democratic choice.”

We, members of the civil society, thus, wonder where the Finance Minister found the audacity
to unilaterally source the funds, decide how to use the funds and decide who to give the funds
to. This is unacceptable.

Malawians have already suffered long enough and it would be complicity of unforgivable proportions if the citizens are still served by Mr. Goodall Gondwe as their Finance Minister. With the MK4 billion revelations, we wonder how much Malawians might have been robbed at the hands of an irredeemably compromised Goodall Gondwe.

Our demands:
1. We members of civil society demand the immediate resignation of Mr. Goodall Gondwe as the Finance Minister. Hon. Gondwe has 14 days from this day to honourably step down. Tax payers can no longer guarantee safety of their resources in the hands of Goodall Gondwe.

2. If the Goodall Gondwe does not resign, we call upon the President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Peter Mutharika to rise to the occasion and fire Goodall Gondwe as Minister of Finance. We expect the President to distance his government from the conduct displayed by Mr. Goodall Gondwe by relieving him of his duties. Most importantly, we call upon the President to address the nation on this grand corruption scam.

3. We renew our calls that the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should commence investigations into the conduct by Goodall Gondwe. In the same vein, we ask the Public Accounts and Budget and Finance Committees of Parliament to, as a matter of urgency, institute investigations into the matter and duly inform Malawians on the outcome of the investigations in the spirit of transparency, accountability and, most importantly, access to information.

4.We call upon all Malawians regardless of their geographical location, tribe and political affiliations to stand up and protect the tenets of justice and accountability. Moments of docility, sycophancy and blind loyalty to political parties and leaders have shifted behind us. It is time to rescue our country from the educated thieves. Let’s say no to impunity!

God bless our Country!!!

Signed by
Charles Kajoloweka – Youth and Society (YAS)
Timothy Mtambo – Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)
Gift Trapence – Centre for Development of People (CEDEP)
Rev. Macdonald Sembereka – MANGO
Billy Mayaya – Human Rights Activist