…. demands an audio and minutes for the meeting
By Iommie Chiwalo
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-While other stakeholders have gone straight asking for resignation of Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has requested for audio and minutes where the committee agreed to withdraw public inquiry on the East Bridge Company.
In a letter that we have seen, signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa and addressed to Speaker Catherine Gotani-Hara says announcement made by the PAC Chairperson Mark Botoman, that his committee had called off the much awaited public inquiry into the infamous East Bridge fertilizer deal, has sparked a heated debate that has culminated into serious allegations of money exchanging hands.
Namiwa says in line with Access To Information (ATI) Act as well as the wording of section 12 subsection 1 (b) of the republican constitution, which states that all legal and political authority derives from the people of Malawi and shall be exercised to serve and protect their interests.
“We would like to believe that whatever was
discussed during the said meeting was in the best interest of the voters and taxpayers, hence we are not asking for too much.
CDEDI has since given the Speaker Catherine Gotani-Hara seven days to do the needful.
Namiwa has also demanded for the release of an audio and minutes as a way of extinguishing the current public suspicion that has been aggraveted by eleventh hour withdraw of the inquiry.
“CDEDI strongly believes that Malawians have a right to know what really transpired during the two hours meeting prior to the abrupt announcement. By making public the requested information, your office will not only demonstrate high levels of transparency and accountability, but such a gesture will put to rest the debate that has dominated the public discourse,” he said.
The CDEDI Executive Director has highlighted that it is irrefutable fact that Legislators are representatives of the people on one hand, and both the committee and plenary meetings of Parliament are public meetings on the other hand hence the demand for the audio and minutes for the meeting.
Meanwhile a grouping of some Civil Society Organizations are calling for the resignation of the PAC Chairperson Mark Botoman for sleeping on duty.
But Botoman argues that his committee consulted all the legal instruments before arriving at such a decision.
Still on his part, National Anti-Corruption Alliance Chairperson, Moses Mkandawire told the press in Mzuzu Wednesday on behalf of other non-state actors that by abandoning an inquiry of the Eastbridge Fertilizer deal PAC has failed in its oversight role.
The CSO’s have since called for an independent enquiry into PAC’s decision-making processes and also an immediate resignation of Botoman to ensure its effectiveness as well as efficiency.
PAC on Tuesday announced it has dropped an inquiry on the East Bridge Fertilizer company and Ministry of Agriculture deal after finding no proof that public funds were spent on the deal.