Speaker of parliament "clarifies" ban on PAC meetings
Hara said the decision to suspend PAC meetings came from the chairs of chairs’ committee meeting, which is led by its chairperson Joyce Chitsulo.
Malawi: Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara has clarified parliament's decision to prohibit the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), whose chair is Shadreck Namalomba, from holding meetings.
Hara made the clarification during a press conference at the parliament building in Lilongwe on Wednesday, in response to allegations that the ban is intended to prevent PAC from investigating the alleged K30 billion fertiliser deal for the Affordable Input Program (AIP).
According to Hara, the decision to suspend PAC meetings came from the chairs of chairs’ committee meeting, which is led by its chairperson Joyce Chitsulo.
She said:" The committee of the chairs of chairs to which I am a member arrived at the decision on 7 October in order to get clarification on the two PAC committees.”
Currently, it is unclear to which committee Namalomba belongs because the court order did not specify which committee he chairs.
She did, however, say that they still recognise him as the chairperson of the PAC, and that, as parliament, they have been giving him assignments in his capacity as chair and that the suspension is not intended to halt investigations into an alleged K30 billion fraud.
The Parliament Secretariat informed the PAC on Tuesday, through the committee clerk, that it has decided to postpone PAC meetings until the court rules on Namalomba's injunction.
This was at a time when the PAC had scheduled an afternoon meeting to set the tone for the committee discussions later in the week.
According to Namalomba’s communication, one of the issues set to be discussed was the K30 billion fertiliser deal for AIP fraud at Capital Hill's Accountants General Department.
The communication also mentioned an investigation into alleged Malawi Gaming Board and Lotteries Authority corruption, as well as the misappropriation of K27.5 billion in funds at ADMRC, among other things.
Following the decision, some people accused parliament of obstructing an investigation into allegations of corruption.
During her speech, Speaker Hara refuted the sentiments, stating that Parliament had already planned a joint committee inquiry into the fertiliser deal, to which PAC would be a party.
She also stated that it is in the best interests of parliament to know which of the two committees Namalomba chairs.