United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Malawi, Maria Jose Torres, has said his office handed over an audit report for the May 21 Tripartite Elections to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) , which recently failed to meet the deadline for submitting the same to the Constitutional Court.
However, Mec insists what they received was just a draft report.
“As part of the electoral technical support provided by the UN/UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] to the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), UNDP carried out the procurement process to recruit, on behalf of Mec, an international firm using established UNDP procedures,” Torres says in a statement posted on the UN website.
“The Assignment Termination Report: “Support to Mec Poll Results Tallying-Report of Factual Findings on the Verification of the Processing and Transmission of Malawi Elections Results’, is with Mec.”
Last week, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legal team member Titus Mvalo and George Mwale, who is representing UTM in the ongoing electoral case, said they expected the court to address the issue of Mec’s failure to submit the audit report to it.
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, Sunday said what the auditor sent to them through UNDP on July 11 2019 was just a draft report.
“Mec got a draft report from the auditors through UNDP on July 11 for Mec to give the commission (management) comments. This we did and sent them to the auditors on 20 July. The auditors responded on 23 July advising that they were looking into the comments and working towards the final report. Mec has followed up with several reminder emails and phone calls to the auditors with emphasis on the importance of the report regarding the ongoing elections case. We are waiting for the final report from the auditors,” Mwafulirwa said.
The court asked Mec to submit the report by the end of last month but Mec Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, was quoted by the local press on August 3 2019 as suggesting that “you can only submit what you have, if you don’t have it what can you submit? That report is from an audit firm, not UNDP”.
The court order made on June 27 2019 asked Mec to submit the report within 11 days.
MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart Saulos Chilima are challenging Mec’s decision to declare Peter Mutharika the winner of the presidential election citing alleged irregularities and want the results nullified.
The court started hearing the case on Thursday with Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale cross-examining Chilima. The cross-examination continues in Lilongwe today.