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Parliament moves to protect Auditor General

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Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, Thursday tabled the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill which seeks to provide for the employment benefits of the Auditor General (AG) under the protected expenditure fund as well as to recognise the role of the AG as head of the National Audit Office (Nao).

Nao is created under the Public Audit Act while the office of the Auditor General is created by the Constitution.

Tembenu said, while the role of the constitutional office of the AG is reinvented under the Public Audit Act, there is no explicit provision that empower him to be the head of Nao.

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“The bill, therefore, seeks to rectify that gap by clarifying the leadership of the National Audit Office. Further, the protected expenditure fund in the Constitution protects certain votes from revision. In order to fortify the office of the Auditor General, it has been recommended that the earnings of the Auditor General be included in the expenditure under the protected expenditure fund,” Tembenu said.

He also said the salaries and allowances and other employment benefits of the AG have been extended to expenditure that shall ensure the effective functioning of Nao.

“This proposal is made in order to ensure that the operations of National Audit Office are not hampered by lack of funds,” he said.

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Speaking on behalf of Malawi Congress Party, Member of Parliament for Lilongwe Mpenu Nkhoma, Collins Kajawa, said, to ensure the independence of Nao and the AG there is need to empower them financially.

“As a nation, we continue to lose resources and, as such, we need to have a vibrant office of the Auditor General,” Kajawa said.

PP leader in the House, Raphael Mhone, said he hoped the government’s gesture was sincere.

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