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Forensic auditors pounce on Reserve Bank of Malawi

Reserve Bank of Malawi headquarters

Gift Trapence

Auditors have instituted a forensic appraisal at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to ascertain how its affairs have been managed, with the central bank’s spokesperson Onilie Nkuna indicating that the audit would be concluded in the first quarter of 2021.

Forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or individual’s financial records to derive evidence that can be used in a court of law or legal proceeding.

“The forensic audit is in progress and, as of now, nothing is conclusive. It is expected that the forensic audit will conclude during the first quarter of 2021. Being a public institution, the bank will share the results of the audit with all stakeholders,” Nkuna said.

She said, when the Tonse Alliance-led government came into power, it commissioned a forensic audit that would indicate if, indeed, there were anomalies in running central bank affairs.

Quizzed on the issue pertaining to remuneration for former RBM governor Dalitso Kabambe and new RBM Governor Wilson Banda, Nkuna said the central bank did not want to get involved in contractual issues that are usually dealt with by the government and those earmarked for governor and deputy governor positions.

“Engagement of the governor and deputy governor is done by the government. The bank would not wish to involve itself with contractual issues between the government and its employees. As such, we are not better-placed to confirm the salaries of the former and current governors,” said the RBM spokesperson.

On structural changes, Nkuna said the new administration had, among other things, changed RBM’s Board of Directors.

“Working together with the new board, the bank is in the process of reviewing a number of policies on both administrative and economic [side] to ensure that they are aligned with the vision that the current government has,” she said.

She said most of these changes would be announced by responsible authorities at the right time.

On whether the bank would support stabilisation of fuel-imports, in terms of prices, Nkuna said the bank’s mandate did not extend to stabilisation of fuel prices.

She pointed out that RBM considered fuel as a strategic import and its involvement stopped at the level of ensuring that foreign currencies were available to facilitate the importation of fuel.

Commenting on the matter, Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Gift Trapence said his organisation was happy that auditors were conducting the audit.

“There have been a lot of allegations of dubious transactions towards the elections. Malawians will know the truth about these transactions,” Trapence said.

Between 2019 and 2020, the public domain has been awash with stories that all is not well at RBM, suggesting that it had been so defrauded that the Central Government instituted a forensic audit.

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