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Audit report stirs debate

An audit report into the management of May 21 2019 tripartite elections by an auditing firm, DBO, shows that there were 273 tally sheets which were corrected with Tipp-Ex while 65 forms were manually amended.

The report also shows that there were 45 forms with missing signatures and 66 forms without political parties’ signatures.

The report has been making rounds on social media from Tuesday evening.

The report, among other things, calls for improved transparency and accuracy of results at consistency tally centres, saying there was lack of knowledge and experience with regards to the required procedures and form-filling process as well as consolidation of the votes at the centres.

“[There is need to] increase the awareness among presiding officers [POs] to the election process and workflow inside the polling stations and the constituency tally centres; conduct practical training for POs and other officers of the polling stations as they all acquire required knowledge and have a clear understanding of the voting process,” the report reads.

The report recommends that the role of the external auditor should be amended and expanded to cover processes at the constituency tally centres as well as the final approval issued at the main tally centre.

“The auditors should have enough time to arrange for hiring local auditors so as to include conducting first and second interviews as well as contacting references,” the report reads.

Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said the commission submitted the report to the court although it is yet to have the final copy from the auditors.

“Mec got the initial report from the auditors through UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] on July 11 2019 for Mec to give its management comments. This we did and sent them to the auditors on 20 July. The auditors responded on 23 July advising that they were looking into the comments and working towards the final report.

“Mec has followed up with several reminder emails and phone calls to the auditors with emphasis on the importance of the report regarding the ongoing elections case,” he said.

But MCP Legal Affairs deputy director, Larry Nita, said they do not have the report as part of their evidence because Mec did not furnish them with the report when they requested.

“We do not have the report and I doubt if, indeed, they submitted the report to the court because, normally, we are supposed to have whatever documents go into the judges or the respondents’ files,” he said.

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