Auditor General faults weak laws
Auditor General(AG) Stephenson Kamphasa has said his office fails to track some missing files of expenditure as well as pin down controlling officers in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) since his office lacks independence and power to do that as is the case in other countries.
Kamphasa said this when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament yesterday alongside officials from the Ministry of Lands.
After noticing that there were a lot of misallocation, of money whose files were missing at the time of audits and yet the files were then presented to Pac, the committee wondered why it is the case.
Responding to the question, Kamphasa said he has no mandate to summon anyone as the audit report goes directly to Parliament, hence, a lot of officers feel obliged to present the files to Parliament and not the Auditor General.
“Most of the controlling officers are not having good record-keeping skills and in most cases, when we go there to do audits, we find that their record keeping is not in order and you have to chase for information and we have a time limit. We cannot do the audit forever but at the end of the day, no records are found, and when we come here, we find things are coming out because they know they are coming to this committee and try to do certain measures to ensure all records are found,” Kamphasa.
He further said he does his job but he is limited as in other countries like Ghana where the Auditor General has powers to give penalties to controlling officers to comply with certain provisions.
“In Ghana, for instance, when a controlling officer has not given adequate information, the Auditor General can surcharge that controlling officer and record it with the Judiciary for the person to comply which is not the case in Malawi because we have got different acts,” he said.
According to Kamphasa, the law restricts them and through the reform process, they have given government some reform processes to make sure that the AG is given some independence and powers in carrying out audits.
Among other queries the Ministry of Lands officials were answering is the misallocation of over K9 million to unrelated budget items without approval from the Treasury.
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