LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – The Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Ben Botolo, strongly snubbed former Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) demands for their terminal benefits. He said that Government will not release the funds until verification of bone fide workers list is complete.
Botolo’s explanation on the matter comes on the heels of the demonstration, which Ex-MYP and Human Right defender Billy Mayaya,have planned on Monday, July 31, in the capital Lilongwe.
Apart from the demonstrations, the former Young Pioneers, vowed to hold vigils at Kamuzu Palace State House, for President Peter Mutharika to hear their concerns.
In an interview with The Maravi Post the Secretary to the Treasury, insisted that some of the said former MYP members are not real beneficiaries, hence the need for the thorough verification and auditing by Government.
Botolo disclosed that currently his office was working daily to finalize the verification exercise, which should be ready in two weeks time.
He challenged the ex-MYPs that their demonstration and vigils, will not yield anything; he said the authorities are all also aware of the process the Treasury is undertaking on the matter.
Botolo said the ongoing screening of former MYPs has already flushed out some ghost pension claimants ; he said saying the Treasury wonders why these people, who never worked for the MYP, were getting the pension on the 14th of each month.
The Treasury Secretary blamed the current impasse on the first census of the ex-MYPs that was conducted over 10 years ago. During this exercise, Botolo claims, some people gave false information to the Government in a bid to get ‘Christmas money.’
He said officials from the Treasury and the National Audit Office, are working around the clock to assess the file of the claimants, to match the information in their databases.
“What these people are failing to understand is that we can’t pay them without verifying the real beneficiaries of the funds. There are some “ghosts workers” within the group, which we want to address.
“The Treasury is doing all it can to finalize the verification process. We might be finishing the exercise within two weeks. The said vigil or demonstration will not yield anything, as even the authority are aware of my department is undertaking,” challenged Botolo.
The former ex-paramilitary wing is demanding MK1.6 million to 2,600 members as their dues, after they were forcibly disarmed by the Makawi Army (current Malawi Defense Force) soldiers in 1993, in what is infamously called Operation Bwezani.
In April this year, President Mutharika gave the MYP ex-soldiers an additional MK500,000 before the final benefits.
The group has been camping at Kamuzu Memorial Tower at Area 18 in the capital Lilongwe for two weeks, after they battled out with the Police at Capital Hill offices.