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Missing Treasury receipts raise fears

There are fears that some unscrupulous civil servants from the office of the Treasury Cashier in the Central Region could be swindling the public of their hard-earned money following revelations of the missing of a General Receipt (GR) Book.

The GR with over 200 leaves was stolen on August 5 2019 from the Treasury Cashier offices in Lilongwe, according to a statement placed in the media recently.

The serial number for the stolen GR is 7319507- 7319800.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi Chief Executive Officer Francis Gondwe faulted government for failing its duty on good finance management. “…General Receipt Book Serial Number 7319507-7319800 was stolen on August 5, 2019.

Therefore, any use of this book is prohibited and must be reported to the nearest police station,” reads part of the statement from Treasury.

Spokesperson for Treasury David Sado confirmed the development saying such receipts are issued to people as proof of payment after transacting with various government departments.

He, however, could not state clearly to which department the GR was dispatched and for what services.

“I am not sure if it’s a GR that was being used elsewhere, it seems it was a booklet being used within offices of the Treasury Cashier,”

He said the matter was reported to police and that investigations are underway while keeping a tight lid on who has so far been implicated in the missing of the booklet.

Asked on implications of the missing of the booklet, Sado said there is possibility that some people could be getting money from unsuspecting Malawians under the pretext that they have, among others, transacted in goods with government.

“Some people could be using it, that is why we put upon the notice which is more of a stop order. We encourage people accessing services from government to pay attention so that they are not given receipts of serial numbers within the stolen range,” Sado said.

He could not reveal of circumstances that led to the missing of the booklet for fear of jeopardising investigations. When contacted, Lingadzi Police spokesperson Gift Chitowe confirmed that the matter was reported to the station but could not divulge more information since the officer handling the file was apparently out for other duties.

Gondwe said the missing of the booklet raises suspicion, asking government to take the culprits to task.

He said the missing receipts mean there will be problems in reconciling money, posing a risk that some could be misappropriated.

“You never know the intention of the one who misplaced or stole the booklet.

Receipt books, cheque books and other documents have to be stored in lock and key.

So, if this is happening, then government is failing its duty on good finance management,” Gondwe said.

Around 2013 to 2014, Malawi was embroiled in the infamous Cashgate in which millions of government money was stolen at Capital Hill with junior officers being the main conduits of the scam, which saw Malawi’s electronic financial management system being tampered with.

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