Report by the Auditor General (AG) on accounts of the government for the year ended June 30, 2019 has showed that Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) failed to account for funds amounting to K1.5 billion in 2019 which it either received as revenue or spent.
Among others, the electoral body failed to indicate how it used over K493 million that was received from contesting candidates [presidential candidates, legislators and councillors] during the May 21, 2019 tripartite elections.
Section 2 subsection 6 of Treasury Instructions 2004 states that Controlling Officers should have all the mechanisms of revenue management in place so that all necessary precautions are taken.
“An inspection of nomination fee records, general receipt books, bank deposits and the general control as regards to revenue custody revealed that nomination fees worth K493,950,600 which was collected and deposited during the period under review had no corresponding general receipts such that completeness of the reported revenue could not be ascertained,” reads part of the report signed by acting AG Thomas Makiwa.
While the funds might not have been spent on anything yet, general accounting practices require that both revenue and expenditure must be properly documented for auditing purposes.
The AG’s report also indicates that the electoral body procured stores items with no evidence of delivery amounting K495,806,794.26.
“An inspection of payment vouchers revealed that during the period under review, the commission made payments valued at K495,806,794.00 to various supplies of stores items which were not supported by delivery and goods received notes to confirm delivery,” the report further states.
It also indicates that Mec did not provide supporting documents for procurement of sleeveless jackets amounting to K174,750,000.
According to the report, an inspection of payment vouchers, delivery notes and stores ledgers disclosed that stores items worth K390,099,431.17 purchased during the period under review were not recorded in their respective ledgers, such that accountability of the items could not be established.
Mec Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa referred The Daily Times to the Auditor General for a technical explanation before he could comment on the matter.
Makiwa referred us to the National Audit Office spokesperson who could not pick our calls on numerous attempts.
Previous Auditor General’s reports have exposed various degrees of funds mismanagement and sheer negligence in book-keeping but Controlling Officers when they appear before the Public Accounts of Parliament (Pac) simply apologise for the mess and promise to do better next time.
However, there have been calls from various stakeholders including Pac itself that proper administrative and criminal actions, where necessary, should be taken on officers who fail to account how public funds are utilised.
In some cases, Controlling Officers have provided to Pac allegedly forged documents to support payments on which the National Audit Office raised queries.