Lipenga cleared of MRA scam, but questions remain
Finance Minister Ken Lipenga is cleared of misconduct in the MRA revenue bloating scheme after a questionable ministerial investigation led by Vice President Khumbo Kachali published its report.
The MRA borrowed more than K30 billion to cover up shortfalls in revenues during the Mutharika's reign and investigations were instituted after Lipenga was caught napping by MP Mnesa.
The investigations were supposed to probe whether Lipenga lied to the nation in this matter, that he lied to the nation before Mnesa's revelations and lied to the nation after Mnesa's revelations.
But the report seems to indicate the investigations instead probed whether Lipenga knew about the borrowing or authorised the borrowing and failed to answer whether Lipenga lied to the nation before or after Mnesa's revelations and this was the important question.
Furthermore, the investigations were supposed to be finished within a week as explicitly promised by president Joyce Banda but it has taken more than six weeks without due explanation and without necessary feedback to the nation.
The investigation instead has tried to publish more details of the MRA scam than previously known in the public, but it has failed short of answering the questions that were required and people who started giving Joyce Banda and her government the benefit of doubt will feel let down.
It is possible that Joyce Banda's government is protecting Lipenga to allow for economic stability at this time when the budget was being tabled and important negotiations with IMF and other key donors were taking place, however Lipenga's position as Finance Minister is untenable.