By Martha Kachingwe Phiri, LILONGWE
Sameer Suleman: How safe is the public purse with the new Finance Minister?
Outspoken Blantyre City South East lawmaker Sameer Suleman shocked Parliament Tuesday morning when he rose on a point of order asking the safety of public funds in the custody of new Finance Minister, Simplex Chithyola Banda.
He claimed the minister was accused of mismanaging Global Funds money.
“The whole Minister of Finance who needs donor confidence right now is on that position being accused of [mismanaging] Global Fund funding that belongs to Malawians. And whenever you are caught stealing and you give back, it means you are a thief.
“I want to know how safe is our money in the hands of such a minister? This is a serious issue honourable first deputy Speaker. Our money is not safe, our money is not safe,”said Suleman.
But this didn’t amuse Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda who accused Suleman of having the tendency of tarnishing other people’s reputation through such serious allegations.
Meanwhile, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo has ordered Suleman to furnish the August House with evidence on his allegation by 2pm today.
He has also asked the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament to examine the issue and come up with resolutions to stop lawmakers from making unsubstantiated allegations in the house.
In 2021, Malawi Police Service’s Fiscal and Fraud Section confirmed launching investigations on a Balaka based local charity, Chinansi Foundation, on allegations that it mismanaged about K65 million then from Global Fund.
In its investigation report dated June 16 2021, the Global Fund alleged the Foundation abused the funds.
Then, police disclosed that indeed Global Fund had lodged a complaint with them alleging that Chithyola Banda, the foundation’s former executive director, and senior members abused funds meant for a programme targeting vulnerable adolescent girls and young women.
But Chithyola, who is also Member of Parliament for Kasungu South, denied the accusations; arguing the NGO had evidence to prove the funds were not abused.