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No funds for more audit exercises

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Shadreck Namalomba

Acting Auditor General Thomas Makiwa Monday told the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament that his office does not have ready funds to conduct audits for the K5.1 billion and K17.5 billion Covid funds released early last year and early this year, respectively.

Makiwa was speaking in Lilongwe when he presented findings of the K6.2 billion Covid funds audit which was sanctioned by President Lazarus Chakwera on February 22 this year.

The K6.2 billion, which was a donation from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), was the second tranche of resources released by the government towards the fight against the pandemic.

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Before that, the government had already released K5.1 billion for the task in preparation for the first wave early last year.

The third tranche of Covid resources amounting to K17.5 billion was released by Treasury in January this year at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic.

Responding to a question from Pac chairperson, Shadreck Namalomba, on whether the National Audit Office has funds to conduct an audit on the two tranches, Makiwa answered in the negative.

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He, however, said his office is committed to conducting the two audits.

Namalomba said it was crucial for the committee to know whether the funds are available so that where they are not available, Pac could push for the money in the next budget.

Addressing the nation recently, Chakwera promised that the K6.2 billion audit is only the beginning of many other audits to come.

During Monday’s public enquiry, Makiwa defended the decision by his office not to include the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force in the K6.2 billion audit report, saying auditors from his office found no audit issues in the two institutions.

Members of the committee asked Makiwa on whether the failure to report auditing issues at the MDF and Malawi Police Services was not out of intimidation or sheer fear.

In his response, Makiwa said an audit report is only supposed to contain audit issues and that it would not be in order for his office to produce a supplementary report explaining where there were no issue.

In the afternoon, the committee was scheduled to meet officials from the Presidential Taskforce on Covid but the meeting has been shifted to Wednesday.

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