I am ready to quit, if am implicated — Ken Lipenga

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Finance Minister Ken Lipenga says he has submitted his report to the President on the MRA revenue figures cook-up scandal, saying he is ready to quit if implicated.

Ready to quit over MRA scam

Lipenga’s report comes amid calls for his resignation following details that have emerged that the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) borrowed K30 billion from commercial banks to paint a rosy picture of revenue collection to fund the zero-deficit budget (ZDB) as indicated during the mid-year budget review in January this year.

ZDB was former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s pet project towards economic independence after he fell out with donors and development partners due to governance concerns last year. Traditionally, donors support the country national budget with resources estimated at 40 percent.

In a brief statement made available to The Nation last evening, Lipenga said: “With regard to the matter of the MRA, I wish to inform the nation that I have submitted my report to Her Excellency the President.”

The minister also said he has proposed for Banda’s consideration that an independent investigation be instituted into this matter.

“…Should the findings of such an investigation implicate me, I shall offer my resignation,” said Lipenga.

When Balaka South Member of Parliament George Nnensa blew the whistle in Parliament in February this year that MRA had borrowed money to doctor its figures of revenue collection and that he had evidence, both Lipenga and MRA director general Lloyd Muhara disputed the claim separately.

Lipenga told The Nation on Wednesday in response to growing calls for his resignation that his hands are clean on the borrowing because it was not sanctioned by him and he had no knowledge figures were cooked up to beef up MRA’s performance last year.

Meanwhile, the MRA board of directors on Friday said management of the public tax collector bypassed the board in the transaction.

Some commercial bank sources have corroborated the MRA board statement that it was bypassed, saying the loan applications last December were submitted without board resolutions.

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