Malawi Prison Service (MPS) flouted procurement procedures when it single-sourced services valued at K135 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The anomaly has not pleased the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament, which has faulted the security institution for disregarding procedures.
The funds in question were part of the K6.2 billion tranche which the Reserve Bank of Malawi gifted the Malawi Government to complement its Covid-19 response efforts.
Pac Chairperson Shadreck Namalomba said MPS was supposed to use open tendering when procuring PPE.
“Ignorance of procedures is not an excuse,” he said.
MPS Commissioner Clement Kainja, whom Pac officials grilled on the issue on Thursday, apologised for the anomaly.
“There were no procurement guidelines when we requested for the money.
We regret it and promise that such a thing will not happen again, “Kainja said.
The development comes at a time some Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services (DoICS) officials are either on suspension or arrested after the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds audit report implicated them in procurement irregularities.
Recently, Ministry of Homeland Security Senior Deputy Secretary Patricia Liabuba told Pac that the arrest of DoICS senior officers was negatively affecting its operations.
In another development, Parliament’s Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change (CNCC) on Thursday sent back officials from the Treasury for failing to provide solid information on Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) audit exercises.
The meeting comes after a Malawi News undercover story revealed that Marep had not been audited for the past 23 years despite blowing K40 billion of fuel levy per year, raising fears of massive abuse of funds.
In the story, Malawi News exposed irregularities such as the award of Marep contracts without certification by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, sub-standard work by contractors and lack of accountability in the usage of Marep funds.
CNCC Vice Chairperson George Katunga Million told Malawi News that a team from the Ministry of Finance was turned back after failing to give a plausible explanation on why Marep funds had never been audited.
“I can confirm to you that our committee sent them back and we have asked them to come back at a later date,” he said.
This was after Ministry of Finance Director of Revenue Kenneth Matupa informed committee members that Marep funds were periodically audited but could not provide copies or details of the audited accounts.
“The Marep Fund was last audited in January 2020 but the audit was specifically on revenue performance,” Matupa said.
Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira has since commended the committee for reprimanding officials from the Ministry of Finance, describing the situation at Marep as “a serious violation of fiscal and audit rules governing operations of government accounts”.