Ministers spit fire on party officials

…they wanted to run the funeral for the cash

…no Minister paid cash from K85 million

..let them just settle bills-MCP officials

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials alleging that Minister’s shared K85 million raised for John Tembo’s funeral are just “angry” that they could not access the money, as no minister was paid from the account, The Investigator Magazine has been told.

In a war of words, MCP officials have asked the Ministers to “shut up and pay” the outstanding bills which they said is the only thing that is remaining noting that if bills had been honoured there wouldn’t have been a story.

All Ministers refused to comment, with Local Government Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda simply saying “I have not been paid any single tambala” as such he could not comment on the “wild allegations.”

Their associates and proxies however called those making allegations “disgruntled and ignorant that they could not be in a Cabinet Committee.”

A week after we reported that the Government is failing to settle the bills including for his casket and that some of cows donated to the funeral had “suddenly disappeared or used to prepare meals” that were billed to the funeral account.

The Office of the President and Cabinet had not addressed the matter as the week progressed despite earlier communication that a meeting had been called.

Ministers react

Associates of the Cabinet Committee chaired by Defence Minister Harry Mkandawire said it was not true that any among them including Local Government Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda and Minister of Mining Monica Ching’anamuno withdrew millions of kwachas from the special account for services that depleted the account before settling essential bills.

Chairman of Cabinet Committee: Harry Mkandawire

“There is no payment to any Minister. The account was managed by OPC not the committee. OPC should be the one that can account. Actually most suppliers alleged to have been paid have not also been paid as of today (Thursday 2 November),” said an associate.

The unpaid bills include the casket and undertakers and numerous service providers, after companies and individuals donated over K85 million channelled through the Office of the President and Cabinet. 

They charged that the party officials were making allegations mainly due to misunderstanding that they could not be in the Committee.

“I think the resentmemt comes in that they misunderstood that the Cabinet Committee was only for Ministers as this was a State funeral. The Ministers did not choose to be in it, they were appointed,” said another.

A third Minister, again through a proxy, explained that Ministers actually delegated officials in line Ministries that it was impossible for them to claim any money.

“Transport was by the Ministry of Transport, most logistics by Lands and OPC. The Ministers did not collect payments for any services” charged an official.

An MCP parliamentarian said MCP Treasurer General Albert Mbawala released funds for transport to all MPs in Lilongwe which included Ministers for their constituents to travel to the funeral of the party’s fourth President.

“Chimwendo was given funds for transport for his role as Director of Youth and that is from the party account not OPC,” said the MP who said he wanted to clear the lies that had been conconted to tarnish Chimwendo in particular.

“People are bent on fighting him for power. There is too much infighting in the MCP. But the truth should be told,” he said .

Chimwendo’s in-law supplied food, but she has always done so for MCP

A restaurant owner named Jackie who operates an eatery at MCP headquarters was the main supplier of meals and apparently a relation of Chimwendo through marriage.

Jackie is said to have been the main carterer for MCP events, including Regional Commiittee meetings, that it was not surprising that she was delegated to feed the funeral attendees. 

“Jackie is renting from MCP headquarters at over K500,000 a month. Her meals were the cheapest at K2250 per plate,” said another source at the MCP headquarters.

His inlaw supplied the food

They said other two suppliers were engaged and these are the ones that charged more than K3000 a plate.

“It is unfair for one to say Jackie was pushed get the contract. She is MCP and she was asked as always. People suddenly have short memories when politics is involved,” said the party official who confessed she was a loyalist of some of the Ministers mentioned.

The official said Jackie’ was only paid for Monday food at MCP headquarters  and not for other two at BICC and Dedza funeral services.

Since there are no written contracts, The Investigator Magazine cannot confirm the narrative on how suppliers were selected.

The cows were delivered slaughtered, they didn’t grow wings- says Ministers.

The cows did not grow wings according to those reacting on behalf of Ministers as they were delivered already slaughtered by the department responsible.

Two cows were donated by Government from Diamphwe Farm and these were slaughtered and delivered at MCP headquarters.

A third cow was donated by Apostle Clifford Kawinga and delivered in Dedza. 

Wellwishers donated slaughtered cows at the MCP headquarters

Others donated meat not live animals, says one of the Ministers proxy. 

Our sources claim Jackie’s prepared the meals with the meat but added rice, chicken and other things to make a complete meal.

Her associate claimed the restauranter charged only labour at K1,000 per plate and not for the meat that had been donated.

We are yet to confirm the statements with invoices that have been submitted to OPC.

Let them pay the bills, that’s all we are asking – MCP

When asked of the Ministers claims that they were more interested to be the ones running the funeral, the MCP officials who gave us the story laughed, saying the Ministers were entitled to their opinion.

“They never approached the party committee to find out what we agreed. Tell them that all people are asking is for them to account for the money and settle the bills since they took the responsibility of the funeral. Anything else is academic. If they had settled the bills nobody could have raised the issue,” said the MCP official.

He said the budget that the MCP committee and the Tembo family had agreed was only K19 million, meaning that the donations could have covered the budget easily if greed had not crept in. 

The rivalry between those inside and outside the Cabinet has grown, said the official,  adding Ministers now use every turn to cry victimisation but always ignore the party structure when engaging in party issues.

“They should be embarrassed they couldn’t prioritise settling the core funeral costs. Tell them to pay the bills and the matter will be closed,” charged another.

The OPC, Party spokesperson and some of the Ministers did not want to comment on the matter.

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