Government gets tough on Mec


Government has said it will not immediately move in to clear the debts which the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) owes its local and foreign creditors after reports of alleged abuse of public funds by the electoral body’s top management.

In a report released on August 27, 2015 the Central Internal Audit accuses the commission of squandering taxpayers’ money totalling K1.6 billion through unauthorised expenditures and payments.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Finance Nations Msowoya said in an e-mailed response over the weekend that it is too early to list the debts as government arrears since they have not been verified in the wake of weak financial systems existing at the commission.


“The issue of arrears accumulated by Mec has been brought to our attention and treasury is discussing with Mec management to find solutions. Once a solution has been agreed upon the National Audit Office will be engaged to verify these arrears before they can officially be classified as government arrears. Treasury is working with Mec to strengthen systems with regard to the funding of future elections and current operation of Mec,” said Msowoya.

The revelation comes after the commission in its recent media statement accused government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for failing to meet all its financial commitments to the body despite the budgets getting parliament’s approval.

In the statement the commission discloses that it owes local creditors slightly over K742 million and foreign creditors USD 485,648 plus ZAR 21,000 respectively dating back to the year 2010.


It further states that through constant consultation with authorities for the past two years government proposed issuance of treasury bonds to the creditors but it did not work.

“Government assured us that all arrears would be included in the 2015/16 mid-year budget review. That assurance was given in December 2015 but this too did not materialise. The mid-year budget has not included the arrears; hence Mec does not have the money to clear the arrears,” the statement reads in part.

“Mec entirely depends on government to provide all the funding necessary to cater for the arrears as well as to provide resources to pay for current activities. We would like to reiterate that the commission is committed to paying all its debts,” it adds.

When presented with government’s stand spokesperson for the commission Sangwani Mwafulirwa raised concern that the unresolved money issues may compromise future elections especially the 2019 tripartite polls since some service providers may not want to partner with the commission anymore.

“Nonetheless we are optimistic that the issue of debts will be cleared timely not to compromise preparations for 2019 elections,” Mwafulirwa said.

In just a month sheriffs from the high court have pounced on Mec offices twice and seized property including motor vans to enforce the judgments obtained against the electoral body.

Meanwhile, there still has been no audience between Mec and the auditors from the central office to discuss the audit queries levelled against the commission, according to Mwafulirwa there just has been correspondence on the matter with no final resolutions reached at.

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