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Ombudsman to push for US 106.5 million India loans forensic audit

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The country’s Ombudsman, Martha Chizuma, hopes the Tonse Alliance led administration will provide an enabling environment for investigations on loan agreements that were signed by the previous government on May 14, 2008 (about 30 million dollars) and on December 13, 2012 ( worth 76, 5 million dollars) from the Import Bank of India respectively.

Last year, the office of the Ombudsman did investigations on another line of credit, widely referred to as tractor gate and the office further recommended that the National Audit Office (NAO) must do forensic investigations on all three loans.

Chizuma had requested for the investigations after observing that there is no account regarding how the loan funds were utilised.

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She has told Malawi News that despite that NAO having only audited the 50 million dollar tractor gate loan; the other investigations will have to be carried out.

“My office is aware that NAO only audited the US $ 50 million despite our directive to audit all the three credits lines, now as it is for us to re-investigate the two remaining ones, we will be working backwards, we will continue pushing NAO to do their work and audit the other credit lines,” Chizuma said.

On his part, acting Director for the National Audit Office Thomas Makiwa said work is in progress for the other two audits.

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“Work is in progress for the other two India credit lines, only that Covid-19 pandemic is affecting execution of some of the running assignments, including the investigative audits from the two loans,” Makiwa said.

The Auditor General’s investigative audit report on farm machinery under the India loan showed that about USD 80,938.80 of the loan balance cannot be located.

The report also showed that there is no evidence of MK 143,076.768.30 proceeds from sale of the machinery.

It also said Treasury had purchased substandard tractors and its allied equipment.

According to the report there was non-competitive methods of procurement and that there was change of original objective of the loan authorisation.

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