Parliament bars media from Office of the President and Cabinet audit scrutiny


The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (Pac) Monday stopped journalists from covering a crucial scrutiny of the Auditor General’s report which uncovered misuse of public funds at the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).

Journalists were from Monday last week banned from covering the proceedings after what were learnt to be concerns from some legislators over coverage.

The committee has for the past three weeks been scrutinising the Auditor General’s report for the year ending June 30 2014.


In a meeting with the media on Thursday last week, Pac chairperson Alekeni Menyani promised that journalists would be allowed to cover the proceedings from Monday [yesterday].

However, reporters who went there were told not to cover the meeting, a development Misa-Malawi Chairperson, Tereza Ndanga described as worrisome

“Parliament has been talking about taking Parliament to the people. That can only happen if the media is involved. We are currently talking about access to information so how can that be achieved if the media are barred from covering such crucial meetings?”Ndanga wondered.


Ndanga promised to engage Pac to hear what the problem is.

With Menyani not available on the day, when confronted, the committee’s Vice Chairperson, Kamlepo Kalua, initially said they were about to finish getting responses from officials from the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).

He promised the reporters would be allowed to enter the room in the afternoon, when the Ministry of Gender Children, Disability and Social Welfare was expected to appear.

Ironically, in an interview after the meeting, Kalua started by expressing ignorance of the ban that had been imposed on the media.

“I am not aware that the media have been banned. This afternoon, you will be allowed to cover the proceedings,” Kalua said.

According to the Thursday meeting, some MPs are said to have complained to the leadership of the committee about being misquoted in the media.

But The Daily Times understands that the MPs in question are under pressure from leaders of their political parties, after the media quoted what they told some controlling officers about the abuse of funds.

Meanwhile, Kalua has revealed that one of the contentious issues discussed in the meeting with officials from the OPC was the misallocation of K20 million.

“There were the usual issues: misallocations, stores ledger not being properly kept, and files missing, payment without proper explanation or documentation. There was misallocation of K20 million.

“We wanted to surcharge the controlling officer. Since he is relatively new, we have pended this issue. We will meet the the Secretary to the Treasury later on and the Accountant General himself so that we can iron out this issue of K20 million. The Auditor General has agreed that the money has to be refunded,” Kalua said.

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