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Auditor General angers Speaker

A statement about ongoing investigations into the Malawi’s public finances in the years 2009 to 2014, dubbed K92 billion Cashgate, by the Office of the Auditor General, published in yesterday’s edition of The Daily Times drew anger from Members of parliament.

According to the statement, signed by Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa, a data analysis report has been submitted to Parliament for the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) as a relevant authority in Parliament to scrutinise and act on it as required by Public Audit Act of 2003.

But Speaker Richard Msowoya has said the statement brings his office into disrepute.

“That information puts the Office of the Speaker into disrepute. I haven’t received that report,” he said.

He later added that following the statement, he had received a number of calls inquiring about the report.

Msowoya made the remarks after Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua raised the issue of the statement.

Pac Chairperson, Alekeni Menyani also said his committee had not received the report.

“I would also like to disown the statement. I am the Chairperson of Pac. My committee has not received that report,” Menyani said.

While saying that the report was given to him about two weeks ago, Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, said it was not a report but just a methodology on the reconstruction of the cashbook.

He, however, said that he thought Parliament had received it as well.

“When I read the paper today, I thought the report had been brought to Parliament,” said Gondwe before promising to bring it to the House today.

His response met some jeers throughout, as MPs from opposition could be heard “nthawi!”.

But the Speaker spoke in defence of Gondwe.

“I don’t think tomorrow is too far. Let’s just wait for tomorrow,” Msowoya said.

On Thursday, the MPs threatened that they would not handle the budget if the report is not tabled in the House.

And yesterday, some of them were open enough to show the link between the report and the budget.

“I appreciate that the Minister will bring the report suffice to say that we can’t wait for tomorrow. The report will have a bearing on the budget,” said Salima North West MP Jessie Kabwila.

But her statement drew a point of order from Chiradzulu North MP Willet Kalonga:

“I’m surprised the K92 billion report is being connected to the Committee of Supply. How connected is this to the Committee of Supply?

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