Malawi Embassy audit takes slow pace
ONE year after President Peter Mutharika directed that all Malawian embassies be audited, it has been learnt that the National Audit Office (NAO) has managed to audit only 13 out of 19 embassies.
Mutharika made the directive in April last year following revelations of massive plunder of about K300 million at the Malawi Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament has since described NAO’s incapacity to finish the audit in time as a result of an “intentional and deliberate move by the Executive Arm of the government to continue stealing and defrauding taxpayers.”
“When it comes to budget allocation they [NAO] are not allocated enough resources deliberately to starve [sic] them so that they [government officials] can continue with their mission of stealing and defrauding people’s taxes. It is intentional and deliberate on the part of the executive to see to it that the audit is not done to get away with whatever they have been doing,” Pac Vice Chairperson Kamlepo Kalua said.
According to Kalua, the delay also shows how some government departments and ministries choose to ignore presidential directives.
“We are not serious to the extent that presidential directives are not respected in a democracy like ours. If this happens, then there is something wrong. As Pac, I call upon people in the country to respect such directives because this is the only way public resources can be safeguarded,” he said.
NAO’s Public Relations Officer, Rabson Kagwamminga, however said his office is currently working on producing audit reports for the missions that have been audited.
“We will be issuing the reports for these audits soon. So far, we have been engaging the client [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] on some of the issues raised in individual embassy audit reports to gather further information so that our final report is based on sufficient and appropriate audit evidence,” Kagwamminga, who is also NAO Principal Auditor, said in a questionnaire response on Friday.
Last year in August, Auditor General, Stephenson Kamphasa, attributed the delay in the completion of the audits to funding problems. When asked whether finances were still a problem, Kagwamminga said the government through Treasury managed to provide funds which were used to carry out the audits.
“The report will be issued to the client [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] for responses and copied to relevant authorities for their information and appropriate action.
“If some issues remain unresolved, they will be included in the Auditor General’s Annual Report sent to Parliament for further action and public use,” Kagwamminga said when queried on when the report will be made public.
The Malawian missions to have been audited are in London, Brussels, Berlin, Tokyo, India, China, Dubai, Cairo, Johannesburg, Tanzania, New York, Washington DC and Pretoria.
NAO is mandated to audit government accounts and public entities under Section 184 of the Constitution and the Public Audit Act of 2003.
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