The Malawi government is yet to start using funds approved in the 2012/2013 budget because President Joyce Banda is yet to assent to the bill, Finance Minister Ken Lipenga said Monday.

Clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola is clinging to the bills in a bid to force government to come clear on her forced leave.

But Lipenga’s remarks differ with Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara who said government has no choice but begin spending the money because one individual cannot hold the state at ransom.

“We are not spending illegally because we are not touching on the funds that were approved by the appropriation bill until the process has been completed,” said Lipenga.

But asked on the source of the “other funds” that he claims government has been using within the first weeks of this financial year, Lipenga could not be specific.

“We have used different funds but not the funds that were approved in the appropriation bill because that would not be appropriate,” said Lipenga.

Lipenga indicated that because of the situation the Clerk of Parliament is in, there is need to make alterations to some documents so that they may be signed by a different parliament official.

“I understand that there are [the documents] now being printed over again so that the name of a different official can appear before they are taken to the president,” said Lipenga.

Law experts hinted recently that the law is clear on the matter that government cannot spend a single penny from the budget unless the president assents to the appropriation bill.

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