MMD never allocated money to first lady – Magande

Former Finance and national planning minister Ngandu Magande has trashed PF lies that the MMD government  allocated resources to the office of the first lady in the national budget when he served as minister.

The Patriotic Front government has allocated K1.5 billion to the office of the first lady a move that has spiked criticism from the opposition who say the allocation is illegal because it is not a constitutional office.

The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has also questioned where the PF government derived the authority to allocate K1.5 billion to the first lady’s office in next year’s budget.

The NGOCC, which is largely a women’s organization  said the first lady’s office was not a constitutional office hence the allocation was illegal.

The PF has on the other side defended the allocation saying previous government used to allocate resources to the office of the first lady without disclosure. Minister of Justice and Secretary General of the Patriotic Front Wynter Kabimba said people who are questioning the K1.5 billion allocation to the office of the First Lady from the national budget are doing so out of ignorance.

Parliament recently approved the allocation to First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba, but the Zambian constitution does not recognise the office of the First Lady despite its charity works it is involved in.

Commenting on the concerns by Church mother bodies, NGOCC and other civil society organisations over the controversial allocation, Kabimba said people were used the MMD style of leadership where government was spending money without parliament approval.

“They don’t know what they are taking about. The PF has taken a stance to provide the allocation to parliament because we did not want to go the MMD way where the office of the First Lady was spending money without parliament approval. We took the allocation to parliament and they voted, there is no way the UPND can say the allocation is illegal, that is ignorance,” he said.

But in an interview, Magande said when he served as minister, government never allocated resources to the office of the first lady.

He said government instead allocated money to the office of the president which is a constitutional office and it was up to the people at statehouse to allocate fund to the first lady’s office in their expenditure.

Meanwhile Magande says President Sata’s statement that law enforcement officers should seek permission from him before investigating senior government officials, puts them (law enforcement officers) in a predicament.

“Go and ask the law enforcement officers, go and ask the ACC if they will continue with the investigations after the president’s statement. If they continue with the investigation be professional” he said.

Supreme Times

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