No budget allocation for auditing of embassies
Government has not allocated money for the auditing of Malawi’s embassies in this financial year, acting Auditor General Thomas Makiwa has told Malawi News.
The development comes as the National Audit Office had started clearing backlog of auditing work for the embassies.
It has just completed one covering the period June 2017 and March 2020 where 14 out of 19 embassies are yet to be audited.
“The Auditor’s General office managed to audit five out of the 19 embassies it was supposed to audit.
“[But] auditing the missions will not go further as there is no allocation in this year’s budget for the continuation of the audits,” Makiwa said.
According to Makiwa, the money allocated to his office this year is inadequate and that auditing of foreign missions is not on its programme this financial year due to lack of funds.
In the audit undertaken so far, Malawi embassies in the United Kingdom, Tanzania, South Africa and Brussels have failed to account for about K 400 million revenue generated from sale of visas, temporary travel documents and renewal of passports.
This runs contrary to Treasury Instruction (2004) Section 5.7.2 (e) which stipulates that all controlling officers should ensure that revenue collected should be banked intact and promptly.
It further provides that if it becomes necessary that the money be used for other operations at the embassies; that should be done only with instruction from Treasury.
The audit report shows that the United Kingdom embassy failed to account for K85 million while the one in Tanzania failed to account for K10 million.
In South Africa, the Malawi embassy there failed to account for K54 million while the Brussels one failed to account for K255 million.
“In Brussels, an inspection of payment vouchers, bank statements of the VISA account revealed that the embassy used visa funds at source and without prior authority from the Secretary to the treasury amounting to K255,850,781.44 (€308,708.75) on activities not related to visa cost,” reads part of the report
Last year, the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament asked the National Audit Office (Nao) to audit the country’s 19 foreign missions and three consulates.
However, Pac Chairperson Shadreck Namalomba bemoaned low funding at NAO, which he said cripples its operations.
“This is one of the institutions that provide oversight functions,” Namalomba said.
The Tonse Alliance government has currently appointed new diplomats for Malawi.