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Long wait for K6.2 billion audit report

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COURTING STAKEHOLDERS—Namalomba

Malawians would have to wait for the next meeting of Parliament to learn about National Audit Office (Nao)’s findings after it carried out a forensic audit of the K6.2 billion meant for national Covid response.

Nao spokesperson Rabson Kagwamminga told The Daily Times on Monday that the much awaited audit report was issued on Friday to the Treasury, Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) as well as Parliament.

“I can confirm [that] the report is out. As anticipated, we issued the report on Friday, April 9 2021. We submitted the report to the Secretary to the Treasury with copies to the Minister of Finance, OPC and Speaker of the National Assembly,” Kagwamminga said.

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He added that Malawians would know about the contents of the report when it is tabled in Parliament.

President Lazarus Chakwera on February 22 directed Nao to conduct a forensic audit on the matter after a preliminary investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman revealed abuse of resources by some stakeholders.

The Ombudsman’s report, released in November last year, faulted the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) for overpricing some purchased goods.

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“For example, Dodma had purchased Butex soap of undisclosed size at K995 per tablet when the counter price for the same is K450. All factors considered, the price could not have increased by 100 percent,” the report reads.

But when asked whether Chakwera has received the report, State House Press Secretary Brian Banda said the Head of State had not received it, and that Nao was better placed to comment on the matter.

Banda said Chakwera gave Nao 30 working days to conduct the audit and that it was up to Nao to indicate whether the 30 days had elapsed.

In a related environment, the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament Monday started conducting a public inquiry into the matter when it summoned the Ombudsman Martha Chizuma in Lilongwe to speak about the report.

Pac Chairperson Shadreck Namalomba said the committee would meet a number of stakeholders, including Reserve Bank of Malawi representatives, which donated the K6.2 billion, and Dodma would be courted.

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