Britain has lost confidence with the rot at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and is demanding action on the “management fraud” of K15 422 756 between July 2012 and December 2014 at the electoral body.
Nyasa Times first reported on September 30, 2015 that the MEC management were involved in expenses scandal by claiming dubious allowances.
The special investigative audit highlighted personal wrongdoing of top officials in claiming the expenses.
MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera , who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal , acknowledged during Electoral cycle support project steering committee meeting held on January 19, 2016 in Lilongwe attended by donors, that there was flouting of the rules, but maintained there was no theft
But British High Commissioner Michael Nevin strongly believes the money was “cashgated”.
“The UK emphasized that they found the exchange of issue to reflect a critical lack of confidence in the integrity of key individuals and that actions are required,” said Nevin, according to the minutes relied upon by the local press.
The minutes also quoted United States Deputy Ambassador Michael Gonzales as having said: “ The US highlighted that the standard is not simply one of theft . The US asserted that the audit reflected a wanton disregard for good practices, which , if not addressed in the MEC’s subsequent managerial actions, will fail to recognize the serious failures id senior administration.”
UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo , who co-chaired the meeting, said the meeting was interested to see action to be undertaken by MEC .
According to the audit, the electoral body, among others, had poor financial management controls, they procured and spent outside the budget, recruited staff without following procedures, made procurements without following regulations, some commissioners and staff pocketed allowances for external trips not undertaken, there was irregular purchase and hiring of vehicles by the chief elections officer, Willie Kalonga, and investing of funds without approval.
The audit among other things, established that MEC management invested K398 million of the electoral body’s idle funds without evidence of the Commission written authority. MEC, however, has argued that the decision to invest with Alliance Capital was ratified by the Commission’s finance and administration committee.
MEC was also accused of transferring about K119 million to unknown accounts and with no records in the cashbook. but the electoral body says it has provided 24 written authorisations for fund transfers amounting to about K93 million.
Meanwhile, the tenure of the current MEC commissioners expires on May 18 2016.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :