Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Thyolo Central Dr. Ben Phiri has accused President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration of lacking seriousness in issues surrounding management of public funds and the fight against corruption.
The former DPP field marshal Phiri said this on Thursday following shocking revelations that government through the Minister of Finance Sosten gave a guarantee of US$170 million (about K180 billion) for fertilizer to a UK based company which got registered just a year ago.
Phiri queried the seriousness of government in giving a guarantee to a non-operational company with less than one year of being registered in United Kingdom, a clear sign that the government is careless and insensitive in managing public funds.
“The way this whole thing was done, there is no two ways about it that there is someone behind it and I can say without fear of anything that there is someone behind it. If we are going to dig down we will find that there is something that is wrong,” said Phiri
Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe admitted that government gave a $170 million sovereign guarantee to UK-based Auzano Capital Management to find a financier who will help SFFRFM to buy fertilizer from UK under this year’s Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
The more shocking revelations is that Gwengwe went ahead to issue the Guarantee without the knowledge of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Auzano was only 10 months old when Gwengwe and his cabinet colleagues found it satisfying to approve an SG of USD170 million. They have no financial statements, no accounts that should have informed Gwengwe and his colleagues in Cabinet of Auzano’s suitability to perform.