Final audit reveals ‘management fraud’ at Malawi Electoral Commission

A final investigative audit report that covers July 2012 to December 2014 now obtained by Nyasa Times issued on 4th August 2015 to the recipient of Dr Ronald Mangani, Secretary to the Treasury, has exposed fraud and expenses scandal at the Malawi Electoral Commission.

Justice Maxon Mbendera: MEC accused of management fraud

Justice Maxon Mbendera: MEC accused of management fraud

According to the report, MEC were heard and responded to the audit query.

The report indicates that MEC paid K5 million duty on two vehicles sold to its chairman, Justice Maxon Mbendera and chief elections officer Willie Kalonga, a move auditors described as an act of management fraud.

The transaction cheated the taxpayers by contravening a well laid out government guideline which states that since government vehicles are bought duty free, upon disposal the buyer pays duty to Malawi Revenue Authority before ownership can be transferred.

However, MEC management fraudulently used taxpayers money for personal gain of Justice Mbendera by paying the full duty of K2,436,875 for Toyota land  Cruiser Registration number TO2966 used by Mbendera; and K2,500,000 for another Toyota land cruiser registration number MJ3373 allocated to Kalonga.

MEC  responded by claiming that under Section 3 of the Act, it has the mandate to make its own policy on disposal of all assets under their ownership.

The explainationwas parried away by the auditors when they challenged MEC to produce evidence of government approval of such policy that allows duty to be paid by government agencies on behalf of employees.

“This is management fraud that defrauded  public funds for personal gains. Maintenance costs by MEC should be recovered from Justice Mbendera and Willie Kalonga,” charges the report.

The audit report recommends further that the two vehicles be surrendered so that an appropriate valuation as they are deemed to have been disposed off at very low prices.

MEC management acted to defraud taxpayers by repairing and servicing the two vehicles to a tune of K744,976.10 before disposal.

The report further blames Toyata Malawi for colluding with MEC management to defraud the taxpayers by significantly undervaluing the two vehicles.

“The audit team made an effort to enquire from Toyota Malawi, Blantyre in order to establish the cause of undervaluation which was below or almost equal to assessed repair cost (K1, 419,000 offered value K1, 500,000 for Mbendera and K396, 854 for Kalonga who paid K385, 000) but the official who signed the valuation forms deliberately avoided meeting the auditors,” reads the report.

MEC management claimed that the Board of Survey did not find any anomaly with the valuation and sale of the vehicles.

The stance by MEC drew a recommendation from the auditors to recommend that Anti-Corruption Bureau be invited in to investigate the conduct of valuation the two vehicles.

Exit discussions held between the auditors and MEC management on 15th July 2015 included:

Willie Kalonga – chief executive officer

Lilie Longwe – deputy chief executive officer

George Khaki – director of administration and human resources

Khumbo Phiri – director of finance

Geoffrey Mbawala – director of internal audit

Edington Chilapondwa – procurement manager

But MEC issued a statement on Monday after a Nyasa Times expose,  categorically denying the abuse of K1.6 billion funds by its officers but it instead blames the ministry of information for delaying communicating to the Internal Audit Department on matters MEC raised concerning the audit report.

In a statement following an investigative story published by Nyasa Times, MEC’s Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa says the preliminary report had not taken into consideration responses by MEC management.

“MEC did submit its responses to the auditors in good time but due to communication breakdown in the Ministry of Information, the responses did not reach the auditors in time,” said Mwafulirwa.

He however should not tell the MEC response on the initial audit findings saying they are not meant for public consumption.

“Although there is high temptation to reveal the responses now in view of the damage the leaked preliminary report might cause, the Commission will restrain itself as doing so will be flouting audit procedures and ethics.”

Mwafulirwa said the Mbendera run Commission is appealing to the auditors and their auxiliaries to maintain their code of conduct and ethics by refraining from divulging “distorted information” to the media.

But final audit report concludes that ‘ “most allegations levelled against the chief elections officer [Willie Kalonga] are true.”

 

 

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Mavuto alipobe
Guest

Our country needs prayers for good governance in each and every sector

marvey marvei
Guest

Nyasatimes, I asked if you have evidence that the eleven year old (ex Msosa) dilapidated land cruiser TO 2966 was indeed purchased by this judge. Well well well let us see how this ends.

Brazilian wax
Guest

Malawi systems always complain that they are underfunded hence cannot provide quality service to the general public and yet there is enough money for plunder. This country stinks!

LUTEPO
Guest

na kumalawi kuno sitidzaleka kuba ngat peter aakuba poyerayera nde mukti chan? tinakababe pakan 2019 woooo olira muzilira Kamuzu anat MCP sidzalamuliraso nde bwanj achakwera mukukakamirabe azanu anachita manyazi ndipo anavomekeza wakulu baba John Tembo akuuza zambiri ukamufuse chifukwa chake DPP !!!!!! 2019!!!!! boma

Real Patriot
Guest

Malawi Yowola.Aliyense anaganiza kuba from the president to the sweeper.What a nation?Mbendera was crying like a chicken in the midst of the night,after giving us a raw deal and he also continued milking us of taxes in a dubious manner.What a stone hearted man.What type of riches does he want in life?

Saiziyakana
Guest
Many people are trying to give Mbendera an excuse or is it himself or his accomplices doing this. Let us be focused – this has to stop. Mbendera and his position is not supposed to be involved in such malpractices no matter what the circumstance. This is can be construed as a reward for the election that is said to have been stolen for the incumbent. Forget about Kalonga he can not do anything right because he does not have an inch of decency in him – he was the mastermind of rigging. However this individualism (may the Lord punish… Read more »
Justice M Mbendera, SC
Guest
Justice M Mbendera, SC
I am the accused in this article. My name is Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC. I wish to tell you that I am not guilty of whatever I am accused of. For your information, I did not buy TO 2966. The auditor knows this. Mr Garvey Karvei , who leaked this story knows this or ought to know this. The Secretary to the Treasury, Dr Mangani knows this or ought to know this. He has the necessary tools to know if he wanted. There is no sale. There is no purchase. Let them show you the receipt issued by MEC/Government evidencing… Read more »
Incorruptible mind
Guest
If it is true the commentator here is Mbendera, you have got to understand that you hold two public offices, both of which require that you be held accountable. Your greed compels you to see everthing as an opportunity to make money. You cannot intimidate reporters who are doing the country a service by asking you and your organisation to answer some questions. You must be the first to welcome the audit and provide support to the auditors. You can of course defend yourself where necessary, but do not come here to silence citizens. If you do not want to… Read more »
peter
Guest
Thanks for your clarification and your advise on how we should treat any news. However, I would also advise you not to take everything that MEC secretariat tells you as gospel true. You must find a clever and yet reliable means of ascertaining what Kalonga and his colleagues tell you. Most of us believe Kalong and friends were responsible for rigging. Now, with the obvious failure of this questionable government to perform as expected, people are really getting angry. On your part, facilitate electoral reforms NOW and clean up the mess at MEC or else we are calling for chaos… Read more »
Billy
Guest

IF ISTOP THESE DISPLES NOT TO SING THISE STONES WILL SING FOR ME THAT WAS JESUS HEY THIS MAN WAS VERY POWER FULL THESE PEOPLE AT MEC DID NOT HEAR MALAWIAN CRY NOW HOLY SPRIT IS CRYING FOR US FOR 2014 ELECTIONS GOD HELP THE MALAWIANS.

peeping lizard
Guest

aliyense kumalawi ndi mbava most andale,ambendera kwasala ndikufa am warning you tatopa nawe

Hamu
Guest

Mkulu oyang’anira chisankho analira!!!!!

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