Exclusive: K1.6 bn cashgate at Malawi Electoral Commission

A special   investigation   of   the   Malawi   Electoral   Commission   (MEC),   conducted   by   the Central Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Finance, uncovered rampant mismanagement of public resources at the electoral body, Nyasa Times has established.

Mbendera ( 2nd from left) flanked by MEC Commissioners

Mbendera ( 2nd from left) flanked by MEC Commissioners

The report Reference No 1A/270/15/0018, issued on August 7, 2015, was addressed to the Secretary to the Treasury and copied to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, the Accountant General, the Auditor General and the Chief Elections Officer.

It states that MEC flouted procedures and the amounts questioned are in excess of MK1.5 billion. The 40 page long report cites:

  • Procuring and spending outside budget and failure to maintain appropriate accounting records;
  • Recruiting staff without following laid down procedures;
  • Procuring without due regard to regulations; and,
  • Disposing used vehicles to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), commissioners and staff in a non-procedural manner.

The above some of the irregularities that have cost the tax-payer funds in excess of MK1.5 billion, an amount can ill-afford to waste.

Already K20 billion was lost in the Cashgate scandal on President Joyce Banda’s watch, while K577 billion was misappropriated during President Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule. Donors stopped assisting Malawi as a result. MEC is one of the few institutions still receiving assistance from multilateral donors.

Summarizing the catalogue of non-compliance to the Public Financial Management Act, the report, seen by Nyasa Times and subjected to various authentication correspondences with the Spokesman of the Treasury, the Chief Secretary, the Chairperson and CEO of MEC, the National Audit Office, and other stakeholders, queries MEC on:

  1. Financial mismanagement;
  2. Irregularities in staff recruitment;
  3. Anomalies in disposal of used motor vehicles; and
  4. Non-compliance with procurement law.

Financial mismanagement, amounts queried total MK883,537,531.00

Specific findings include:

  • Incomplete accounting records which it states can mislead management into making inappropriate decisions;
  • Maintaining an unnecessary number of bank accounts which complicates tracking of funds;
  • Unreliable bank reconciliations which can ease occurrence and concealment of fraud as was the case with  “cashgate”;
  • Investing public money amounting to MK398,040,000 without documented authority;
  • Transferring   huge   sums   of   money   MK118,667,404.44   to   unknown   accounts   –   a feature of cashgate;
  • Over-refunding   of   nomination   fees   totalling   MK75,050,538.17   in   political appeasement;
  • Overspending the travel and accommodation costs by MK205,623,586.00;
  • Paying Commissioners for trips not undertaken to the tune of MK15,422,756.00;
  • Drawing personal loans from public funds without evidence of repayment amounting to MK39,922,286.00;
  • Paying gratuity from operating funds amount MK16,850,324;
  • Abusing funds on un-approved travel amounting to MK2,228,975;
  • Unjustified hire of motor vehicles for the CEO to the tune of MK7,043,662;
  • Claiming MK4,688,00 in allowances for overlapping periods; and
  • Spending on borrowing of lamps and tents when no such budget existed.

Irregularities in staff recruitment:

Findings   on   irregularities   in   staff   recruitment   include   recruiting   people   without   even attending   interviews   and   placing   people   in   positions   different   from   those   they   were interviewed for.

Anomalies in disposal of used motor vehicles:

Of the fourteen used motor vehicles that were disposed of irregularly, two were allocated to the CEO; six to commissioners, three to staff members, one had no details and two were at the time of the audit yet to be allocated.

Among other things, the auditors suspected foul play in the way the vehicles were valued. In the case of the two vehicles allocated to the CEO for instance, the Chairperson’s vehicle, registration TO2966, had just incurred repair costs of MK1,419,000 yet it ended up being valued at MK1,500,000.

The CEO’s official vehicle was repaired to the tune of MK396,854 and somehow, valued atMK350,000.

The Commission also incurred costs on the other motor vehicles earmarked for boarding-off amounting to MK744,976.10. In other words, the MEC CEO, some commissioners and staff acquired public vehicles for a song, after the Commission had invested a fortune in their repairs in a well-orchestrated looting manouvre.

Non-compliance with procurement law – total MK688,684,743.09:

Issues on procurement include a sum of MK104,701,494.50 which the audit reports states did not comply with Public Procurement Laws. Again, in a scenario reminiscent of cashgate, MEC failed to substantiate the supply of goods by SCI Tanzania which was paid a whopping MK16,688,709. SCI, per their website, is a market-leader in technology consulting and solutions.

Goods procured outside the procurement plan and budget amounted to MK40,655,225; while andMK526,639,314.59 was noted by the auditors to have been spent in excess of the threshold where the Office of the Director of Public Procurement should have granted prior approval.

MEC Management Position:

Responding to an emailed enquiry on the report, the Commission through its spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa, faulted the report, saying: “The report you have only covers one side (the auditors’ findings). We wish to inform you that what you have was a draft by the auditors which they submitted to MEC for response,” explaining that the issues raised in the report were responded to and that MEC was expecting the auditors to issue a report that would incorporate responses from MEC management.

“With the explanations, responses and evidence we provided to the auditors we expect the issues that you are raising to be dropped. However, we would not divulge them now as that would be unprocedural and unethical practice in audit. We wish to emphasise that this is work-in-progress and not meant for the public yet,” stated Sangwani Mwafulirwa.

Lamenting that “someone had leaked the draft report before its finalization” and that this could lead to throwing of wrong and unsubstantiated allegations into the public sphere”.

Mwafulirwa urged this correspondent to wait and “use the final report because it will have comments and responses to the findings of the auditors and possibly the issues you are highlighting now will be non-issues as they will have been dropped by the auditors.”

This was on September 12, 2015 and as we wrote this report, neither the Minister of Finance spokesperson, nor any one at the Central Internal Audit Unit had issued a “revised” report which dropped the issues highlighted, despite a flurry of emails from Justice Maxon Mbendera to the Central Internal Audit Unit.

MEC Chairperson weighs in:

On September 21, 2015 the Chairperson of the Commission, Justice Mbendera kindly weighed   in,   sharing   copies   of   correspondence   between   MEC   and   the   Secretary   to   the Treasury   in which   MEC   had tried,   apparently   in   vain, to   clarify on   the   findings   of   the damning audit Report.

Contrary to   the   claim by  the   MEC  spokesperson  that   the   report  was  a   draft,   MEC  had received   communication   from   the   Central   Internal   Audit   Unit   which   clearly   and unambiguously indicated that the report was in fact final.

Verbatim,   the   memo   accompanying   the   report,   dated August   7,   2015,   Ref.   No1A/270/15/0018 addressed to the Secretary to the Treasury and copied to the Chief Secretary, the Accountant General, the Auditor General and the Chief Elections Officer reads:

“Central   Internal   Audit   Unit   conducted   an   investigative   audit   at   the   Malawi   Electoral Commission between April 27 and May 15 2015. I now submit the final audit report for your information and appropriate action.

Signed August 7, 2015.”

MEC, licensed to loot and to rig?

As of today, the both the Chief Secretary, Mr George Mkondiwa, and Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Mr Nations Msowoya, are yet to respond   to emails seeking to hear from the Treasury if indeed the report was just a draft which would be revised,  as argued by MEC and given the gravity of the findings, what decisions had been made.

In a comment on his Facebook page, Stanley Onjezani Kenani lamented the endless abuse of public resources, and wondered whether this evil will be resolved at all.

“Malawi is like a leaking bucket. Everyday there is news of looting of public funds. At the same time, we are appealing to the international community to give us $146 million to prevent death by hunger. What assurance will donors have that their assistance will indeed go to those in need?”

To us at Nyasa Times one thing is clear: no action has been taken against anyone at the Malawi Electoral Commission, and none will be taken because the current Commission serves the interests of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and hence it is licenced to loot with impunity.

The   DPP is, in fact, implicated in the report because its candidates are the direct beneficiaries of the nomination fee refunds queried by the auditors.

Besides, the DPP is not taking any action whatsoever on the K577 billion Cashgate Scandal. The DPP is happy to be yapping at former president Joyce Banda and telling the world it is serious about cashgate.

Again, expecting the current crop of Commissioners to rectify this mess and bring sanity to MEC, is as good as expecting a mango tree to produce apples.

Some Commissioners, for crying out loud, received MK15,422,756.00 for trips they did not undertake.

And, two of them are now proud owners of ex-public vehicles they bought for a song.

It is therefore safe to conclude that Malawians should rest assured that the MEC Commissioners, the CEO and top Management will remain untouched, and survive to loot and rig again, with impunity.

Fast Facts:


  • You have news tips? Contact: [email protected] or  Karvei Exclusive Publications Contact: garveykarvei@ymail.com
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

55 thoughts on “Exclusive: K1.6 bn cashgate at Malawi Electoral Commission”

  1. Basikolp says:

    MEC has been rotten since 1994. It is one of the institutions where cash gating has been rampant. Both the staff and Commissioners need to go! Mbava zokhazokha

  2. Highly Favored says:

    Akudzilipila pa ntchito yomwe anagwila; kubela chisankho in favor of the DPP

  3. Mbendera cried crocondile tears when he annonced the results of elections. I think his tears was for thanking DDP for money he got to make DDP the winner. These men are evils. And shamless. Check how many houses they have. All stolen money is put in houses and land. It is not normal for aperson to have many houses and land land when others can not get one piece of land. Most of them have build houses without mortgage. Where in the whole world one can do that. What is remaining in Malawi is revolution. We dont want that. So it is the time to crrect the mistake. People can not tolerant any longer. Iam afraid it is a timei bomb. Malawi can not afford a civil war.

  4. Are these people going to continue sitt there? Yes this is Malawi. The thieves sitt still and continue stealling. Every Malawian knows that there were fraud in elections. A small country like Malawi with Aid and tax payers money after 51 years of indepedence could have developed by now, but what? All the money supposed to build the nation and help people with educatio , healthy algricuture is gone into pockets of leaders and few people. How long did take Germany to build after the cities were destroyed? Not long? Rwanda to day is better than Malawi. Mozambique is better than Malawi. WHY? Kondi a Malawi is it Umbuli or what? Malawi have educated people but it is the same people who are destroying the nation. In the 70 th Europe started giving money to most poor nations in Africa and Asia. This is AID. The reason to help these countries to develope. Much money went to educate Africans so that they can develope their nations. What have happen to the money? Africans leaders oand their close friends took money into their own pockets. Is it a shame that every leader i. Malawi starting from Muluzi donors have stopped giving budget money. Then some stupid Malawians insult donors and think they can manage without donor money. With what? Tobacco? Of_course can manage with little money but with the life and expenditure your leaders have no way. Europe cut expenditures whenever they see economy getting bad. Malawi dont. Why? They dont care about people or nation except themselves. 100 people to UN meeting is an example. How many people have gone there from European nations? Abale. Manyanji alibe. Should we be more senseless than others. I thought Malawians wanted a prof. I think its better to have my old grandfather from the village will do better as a leader. He will know how it is to be an ordinary person means. So sad. Kamuzu Banda was not all bad. Thinking of that he was first African leader. Yes dictator but RULES AND ORDER WAS THERE. NOT LIKE NOW. BANDA NEVER GOT SO MUCH AID but education and health and algricuture system was the best in Malawi. Many educated Malawians got education during Kamuzu. To days education one can buy it. Or given because of his/her name.

  5. Dodolido says:

    Kodi inu mumafuna Mbendera abele mavoti popanda cholowa?

  6. Citizen says:

    If JB = 20 billion, Bingu = 577 billion, therefore Peter >

  7. Chimani. Game says:

    Why hide what’s going on?zopusabasi.let the world know

  8. Dambudzo Mwasanya says:

    Just complaining will never solve anything in Malawi.Its time all Malawians had to spine to demonstrate in the streets to remove these thugs from their backdoor govt. We are not slaves of these thieves.90 percent of poverty in Malawi is designed by a few crooked thieves who benefit from the corrupt system.Tax payers money and donor money is meant to benefit anybody in Malawi.When will corruption end in this tiny impoverished country of Malawi?

  9. Job Brian says:

    kkkkkkkkk koma kumeneko

  10. Thomas says:

    Take him to maula mr mbendera

  11. Kwaheli says:

    I don’t see the issues in this report. It’s pure jealousy and madness by the author.

  12. Kamchenyenthe says:

    The biggest problem facing our country today is this shameless protection of thieves by government. We have known for a very long time that resources at MEC have systematically been abused Kalonga and group. And as true reflection of who we are Kalonga and group have been shielded by authorities who should be the major beneficiaries. Those who protect public resources are mercilessly punished by government the likes of Nsaliwa, Kamoto etc. The abuse of public resources will never stop in part because Malawi lacks leadership at all levels of society. This thing of giving important national jobs to mediocre characters because they represent tribe of the president is surely taking this nation to the brink of catastrophe. Look at the head of civil service….what good and innovative can come out of that office.

  13. DOBO says:

    Recently, an UN official in Malawi by the name of Mia seems to advise Malawians especially the opposition to keep quet on issues like these and concentrate on development and peace.A very senior man of man advised Malawi journalists not negative stories about Malawi. The list goes that include the president of Republic of Malawi.I don’t understand neither believe it that such people like against the exposure malpractices and evil for sake of the poor.

  14. Mapuya says:

    Zayamba kuwululika’ kenaka adzafotokoze mmene anabera mavoti” kuyika miyoyo ya amalawi mu nyanja ya moto wa mavuto a njala” kulipiritsa mankhwala mu zipatala’ kulipira fees ku primary kenaka kukweza fees ku secondary yananu” kuthetsa certificate ya 8′ ndi JC. DPP yalutsa. A MEC ndithu inutu muzayankha ntchimo limeneli mulungu achita nanu’ a malawi 15million avutike chifukwa cha inu chonch????

  15. Kent Y.G. Mphepo says:

    Dear Countrymen,

    If this is true, then we, Malawians, must do something quickly to bring this trend to a stop. Our country is not in safe hands and no progress will be made if we run like this for the next three years. I, however, take consolation from the fact that I personally know most of the people in this story as men and women of highest integrity in the land. I am inclined, therefore, to believe nothing of this can be done by any of this team of honorable Malawians. If it really happened, then someone must have done it behind their back. I am sure that someone could just be cooking up these stories. I am a doubting Thomas until nditagwira mabalawo ndi zala zanga.

    Kent Y.G. Mphepo, Blantyre.

  16. Lato says:

    These are the people Joyce Banda chose. She must be regretting now.

  17. Mzee says:

    You people are stupid if you think MEC can ever be transparent. Willie Kalonga is a certified thief a fact that is known by authorities. During JB DFID asked JB to get rid of Willie Kalonga but Mbendera refused to get rid of Kalonga because he knew he was going to benefit. In addition Rev Chimkwita Phiri is anothet certified Baptist Church thief. Mbendera and Chimkwita are two buddies working to bring down MEC. JB was too weak she couldnt deal with Mbendera to the point when Mbendera accompanied by Chimkwita went to threaten JB and JB mistaking democracy for weakness allowed Mbendera to get away with insolence. JB forgot that she fired Mbendera as Attorney General how then could Mbendera allow her to win the election. The fraud at MEC is thetefore a reward to crooks at MEC for putting APM in power.

  18. chithope says:

    Kulibe chinsinsi kudziko lapasi mkuona munkalira mumadziwa kuti munambereka bububu lero ndiizi anthu ambiri akuvutika chifukwa chainu 2019 osadzapezekako ku Tale centre wava Mbendera?

  19. Wadya Kake alibe mbiri says:

    Ndikatodabwa kuti mkuluyi akalira chani polengeza zisankho? Akatolira zimenezi eti?

  20. Mabotcho says:

    My poor country continues to be milked out of its little resources. Let me also say that the cash gate is rampant in all gvt departs and parastals. To mention few polce, MRA, Road traf, Escom, water departs etc Its a moral decay among the Mwian and the virus is spreading into non gvt org. Gvtt showing no interest in fight either corruption or cashgate cause they are benefiting from it. To me money which is lost in the gvt and parastals would have been enough to run our gvt without donation. Muluzi is to blame of all this, he was siphoning money and did corruption with junior hence teaching them, now its all over (Muluziis yomweyo akamaba ifenso tikuba kwinaku as per 1994 csmpaign)
    Sometimes we have evidence on cashgate or corruption but with the non performing anti corruption body we get defeated. If gvt is serious we may contribute strategies even on this column

  21. benjnes says:


  22. Joe wa Kalunji says:

    Let us comment intelligently and logically. This is an audit report, how do issues of election rigging come in here? After all who hired the current crop of MEC Commissioners? Surely it was not the DPP regime you are pulling punches at.If you have more information and know the linkage please provide the same to ACB or any relevant oversight institution. Anything short of this will be mere rumour mongering.

  23. haha says:

    Damn ,no interview yet u get a job.a different job for that matter

  24. KUNO KU MAULA says:




  25. Chizeleza Ngwira says:

    Mbendela is rotten

  26. kambuta says:

    This Central Internal audit Unit can work. They unveiled the salary Agriculture Scam and now it is MEC. Government should pump more resources to CIAU and NAO to handle these thieves.

  27. matako a pusi says:

    Some of the findings are quite questionable. The legal body to investigate procurement issues is the Office of the Director of Public Procurement(ODPP- WHICH HAS AN INVESTIGATION AND MONITORING DEPARTMENT)and I wonder why the government audit was doing at MEC on issues of procurement. Secondly, did the auditors check the asset disposal policy of MEC. If MEC has such a policy and it allows commissioners and staff to buy the assets due to disposal, then there is no story here. My reading of the article is that there were just little procedural mistakes here and there and that actually that sanabe cash- ndalama apa. I also feel that this is just a draft report and that the auditors will clean it up after getting a responses from MEC management. Sometimes auditor rush to disseminate their findings before they get responses from the bodies they are investigating. This is not in any defending MEC ngati anakwitsa here and there they should be disciplined

  28. chatonda says:

    Dziko lilimmanja mwa a galu. How can people of the most impoartnt organization like MEC behave like this? Theft by public servants not so? Arrest all of them and set a good example. Malawi is tired of this kind of stories everyday. ACB, do not wait please you have to act now and now than later before they start hiding their [property.

    Willie Kalonga and his brother Leonard Kalonga have messed up the country’s economy. Both are thieves and commissioners too. What a shame? Deal with them now than later. I mean all of them including Chair if he is one of them. How can you buy a car like a bicycle? Theft of the greatest order in Malawi, But why guys? It really pains me very much including what the President is doing with Brian Booler in USA. God will find a solution for us. Amen

  29. Dr. Godfrey Ganizani Mvuma says:

    Malawi has gone to the dogs

  30. Mwethu says:

    so the crying after announcing the results wasn’t about the death in mangochi but more of a sigh of relief that had another party won he was in a very big mess!!! the man looks humble, and bishop-like yet he is another of those wolves in sheep skin!!

  31. Charombanthu says:

    What baffles me is why MEC commissioners, who I presume are like board members, are still using vehicles which are fully maintained by MEC and they continue to receive fuel every month as if they were employed by MEC. I am not talking about ordinary vehicles – these are Prados which were bought brand new from Toyota Malawi and we see these commissioners all over town in these state of the art vehicles on private business at the expense of my taxes. God help our nation…

  32. Charles says:

    Odi Uko!Shit.

  33. They should change the whole bunch idiots. There are many
    Young serious ambitious people who has a dream of better Malawi than these thieves. These people are shameless. PAC please demand resignation of APM. He has nothing to give to Malawi and Malawians. Now Malawians learn that family rule is not good. 56 or 100 people to UN is an example of a overnment who dont care how much it costs. In UN office there are not so many sitts for one country to take such a huge number. Why pleasing friends when the rest of population are suffering? This APM is he educated or just a fool who came to steal? His ollowers destroyed his brother does he want the same? Why can he go though the list of people who was going? Look at our neghbouring countries how many they took? My friend from Zambia was laughing at me. Why should I be laughed because idiots.

  34. ngolingoliwa says:

    pali nkhaninso apa? inu mumati a MEC azivutika ndalama akuziona? osathana kaye ndi 577bn bwanji? ife aku MEC tisiyeni nafenso ino ndi thawi yathu kuti tipakule. kulembana ntchito pachibale ndizachilendo? mutakhala inu mungatani? za ziiii, osapita ku state house kukadzudzula mchitidwe oterowo bwanji? zopusa basi anthu asagawane magalimoto oti amagwiritsa ntchito okha? tokotani muphwera zanu izo, pano ndithawi yathu alomwe asaa! MEC CEO musiyeni or atawagona azimayiwo amafuna okha,,chigololo ndi mwini thako, iwo samakana bwanji? nsanje basi kumusilila CEO mmafuna mukanakhala inu? zachamba basi tazingopempherani apa mwina mkukapeza bwino moyo winawo, iyaaa!

  35. Nose Diving says:

    Amalawi Anzanga, bus takwera yi yotchedwa Dhiphiphi koma mwati ikuyenda mu nseu kapena mumphompho. Omwe muli Ku front seat please check if the driver is awake or not. Ma bump achuluka awa. Conductor angotolera basi zoti tikafika no guarantee. Gwilitsa polo Malawi. Chonde adalaivala penyani, mutipweteketsa.

  36. mtondo says:

    There is a selective approach to justice and this is a great injustice!

  37. Blantyre says:

    Agalu inu mudabela munthu wa mulungu , mutha psyitiii…

  38. langa says:

    I miss Kamuzu you might be right. Mkuluyu amkalira ndi chimwemwe for the done deal. Why is he still clinging on to the seat? He knows once he stands up people will see the mess he is covering. But God cannot be mocked.

  39. Chatty Man says:

    All looters should be brought to justice DPP ndi MEC watiyenjeza.Kuno ndi nkunja.

  40. Malawiyano says:

    I feel PAC has taken note of all this mess as well. May be PAC is going to take us from this cruel world , tears don’t mean anything to DPP government. This country belongs to us all , we should not be seeing things getting out of hand and to be praising for the cruel leadership all the years just because of tribal connections.

  41. Mphwache says:

    By the way, Leonard Kalonga (he of the cashgate case) is a cousin to Willie Kalonga (he of the MECgate case)

  42. aphade says:

    very good,this just a tip of an iceberg.

  43. Chisambwazo says:

    The looting of funds at MEC will never stop as long as Willie Kalonga is the CEO. He has managed to blind fold Mbendera with unnecessary foreign trips so that he should toe his line. Most of the girls at ICT dept have either slept with Kalonga or other members of management staff. I heard recently Kalonga has just promoted some of his relatives at MEC including one at Regional Office in LIlongwe. Government should do something about this institution.

  44. peter says:

    When you are crooked and you get used to such acts, you never know what will hit and break you apart. Many Malawians have been complaining about the level of irregularities at MEC during elections, which point to some deliberate rigging tactics employed by employees of this institution. Now time has come for them to face the law and surely they never expected that it will come in this manner. Blessed are those who always seek the truth and are honest for the test of time will still vindicate them as truthful!

  45. peter says:

    Shame ! Shame! Shame! One day the ‘peasant farmers’ will stage a revolution and these ‘protected executive’ thugs will be no more! So help us God!!

  46. commenter says:

    OH WOW!! What are you gonna do about this now that we know????

  47. MLOMWE says:

    am watching you DPP

  48. Give us all the names of those people who benefited unlawfully from this cashgate whether dead,sick or alive, not just giving us figures,its about time to put a face to this cashgate . Malawi can’t go down like this people just because of few individuals.

  49. tzbvxhn says:

    Long arm of the law should deal wıth them. We are tired. Very tired of cashgaters.

  50. wanted says:

    I expected this to happen at mec anyway lets wait and see

  51. i miss kamuzu says:

    nthawi zina munthu umalila chifukwa chosangalala kwambili. nkulu uja amalila chifukwa anapakula zambili ndiye anali very happy.

  52. Dominic says:

    Only God knows the truth

  53. NEd says:

    Zikomo potidziwitsa,tiwona kuti tipanga bwanji anthuwa awonjeza kwambili and zakwana

  54. JB says:

    May the God of heaven the one who sees everything cause pain and havoc in the lives of these thieves may they be exposed one by one . AMEN

Comments are closed.

More From Nyasatimes