State House Chief of Staff Prince Kapondangaga implicated

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Pressure is mounting on Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera to suspend State house officials implicated in the MK65 million bogus accommodation payment at Crossroads Hotel.

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says President Chakwera must demonstrate zeal to end corrupt with the statehouse before any government agency.

In a press statement signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa and made available to The Maravi Post on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the grouping challenges Chakwera on the need to bring sanity in his Tonse leadership.

Below is CDEDI full statement:


HOTEL BILLS SAGA: PRESIDENT CHAWKERA SHOULD EXONARATE
HIMSELF BY SUSPENDING THOSE IMPLICATED

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is
appealing to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to exonerate himself on hi
pledge to fight against corruption at all levels by suspending State House
officers that have been implicated in the Crossroads Hotel Bills saga in
Lilongwe, to pave the way for thorough investigations on these fraud
allegations.

To begin with, President Chakwera should know that Malawians are dismayed
with conflicting reports and inconsistent information and statements
surrounding the State House and Crossroads Hotel over guests purportedly in
the country on security matters.

CDEDI and indeed all well-meaning Malawians nearly dismissed what started
as only social media gossip, up until such a time when the Crossroads Hotel
management changed tune to confirm receipt of a Cheque worth MK12.5
million as proof of payment from State House.

This change of tune contradicts an earlier statement issued by the hotel, denying receipt of any Local Purchase Order (LPO) from the State House.

The matter attracted even more public interest from the taxpayers when State
House Press Officer Mr. Brian Banda was quoted in both The Daily Times and
The Nation newspapers of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, where he told the former
that “State House cannot comment on the matter as the issue does not serve
the interests of Malawians since it is fake news,” and he told the latter that
“State House cannot comment on the matter to avoid dignifying fake news.”

These twists and turns on the incident have prompted CDEDI to zero in on the
saga, now that there are more questions from Malawians of good will than
sensible answers.

The inconsistent responses from Mr. Sameer Sacranie of Crossroads Hotel are enough proof that something very fishy has taken place between the State House and the hotel.

Mr. Sacranie should know that he is dealing with taxpayers’ money, and he
should have treated the matter with utmost care, seriousness and in a very
transparent and accountable manner.

Similarly, now that the management of Crossroads Hotel has confirmed receipt
of payment from the State House, it was the expectation of CDEDI, and indeed
all Malawians that the State House Press Office would issue a statement,
apologizing to the nation for the deceitful and shameful statements that were
issued earlier by Mr. Banda to the media.

On the contrary, the silence from the State House is so deafening, giving an indication that the confirmation of payment by the State House to Crossroads Hotel was not fake news after all!

Mr. Banda lied to Malawians! What is particularly disturbing is the fact that all this is happening at a time when President Chakwera is busy ‘clearing the rubble’ in the country.

The hotel bills saga, therefore, is a big litmus test for the Tonse Alliance led
administration, especially on its efforts to crackdown on corruption and theft of
public funds.

CDEDI is, therefore, demanding President Chakwera to suspend all the State
House officers involved in the Crossroads Hotel bills saga, specifically his Chief
of Staff Mr. Prince Kapondamganga and the Director of Finance Mr. Gideon
Kumbalu, to pave the way for thorough investigations on the matter.

Should Dr. Chakwera remain mum on this incident, Malawians will then construe that his stance on the fight against corruption in the country is just some political
rhetoric, when in actual sense it is political persecution since his
administration is only targeting those connected to the immediate past ruling
party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI is reminding Dr. Chakwera that time for
flowery speeches is over, and that this is now time for action.

President Chakwera is yet to respond on the saga as today is also expected to answer questions in the currently budget seating of Parliament.

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