K557 cashgate probe to be held under heightened security, secrecy: Malawi’s commitment for credible audit impresses donors

Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland and The European (EU), who are backing the forensic audit into the K557 billion (about $883million) ‘cashgate’ between 2009 and 2013 want the investigations done under heightened ecurity and secrecy to prevent compromising investigations following the break in and theft of documents related to the probe at a house of a GIZ —Germany development arm— official in Lilongwe earlier this year.

Katrin Pfeiffer: We want confidentiality

Katrin Pfeiffer: We want confidentiality

Information of the probe will be released when the exercise is completed as Malawi government and the media has been urged by GIZ “not to make public any information about the audit team’s work and schedule.”

GIZ is providing technical support to the audit.

Katrin Pfeiffer, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Development Cooperation at German Embassy in Lilongwe, said: “Confidentiality would serve a speedy, undisturbed and efficient review.”

According to quotes attributed to Pfeiffer in the press, “Upon completion, it will be for the Auditor General to decide how to take forward action on the audit’s findings, including communicating them to the public and Parliament in line with the Public Audit Act.”

Pfeifer said in the statement, the development partners that suspended aid to Malawi after a massive public sector graft scandal, were impressed by the commitment by Malawi Government to ensure a credible audit.

She explained that the audit was necessary following Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) ’s data analysis of Malawi’s financial management system from 2009-2014 which identified significant discrepancies between payments made from government bank accounts and the records held in Malawi’s public financial management system (Ifmis).

“It matched statements from government bank accounts with entries in Ifmis. The analysis showed that 43 percent of payments reflected in the government bank statements were not accounted for in Ifmis. These discrepancies suggest serious weaknesses in the implementation of the public financial management system, which require further investigation.

“The work undertaken by PWC on behalf of the NAO (National Audit Office) did not establish the exact amounts or causes of the discrepancies, nor whether any funds were misappropriated. As communicated by the NAO (press release), this data analysis is being followed up by a forensic audit. This is required to explain the discrepancies or establish if there was any theft of public funds,” she added.

According to Pfeifer , Malawi’s National Audit Office (NAO) remains the leading agency in the audit of the cashgate despite donors assisting .

In 2013, Malawi uncovered a corruption ring involving government officials, in which over K24 billion taxpayer funds was swindled from state coffers, according to an audit already done by British auditors Baker Tilly.

The scandal, dubbed “Cashgate”, prompted foreign donors – who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget – to pull the plug on aid.

The pilfering of public funds is said to have taken place over just six months, from April to September 2013, during former president Joyce Banda’s term in office.

Banda  blamed on “loopholes” in the public payment system introduced by her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

Pfeiffer said there were suggestions the looting actually took place over a longer period dating back to 2009 when Mutharika, who died suddenly in 2012, was in power.

The K577 billion audit will be conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The Cashgate scheme is the biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history and several people are facing trial while a number of convictions have been obtained.

 

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Kenkkk
Guest

Why the delay on the forensic audit if it is claimed by the current dpp govt that most of the 577bn was stolen during jb rule between 2012 and 2014? The delay doesn’t make sense if the dpp govt or its officials are innocent.

Why break into the house of a german official to steal the 577bn information documents if there is nothing for dpp to fear? More likely these thieves are govt officials or closely connected to the dpp govt.

paybackthemoney
Guest

so far how much money has been recovered or are we just wasjting time. malawi can operate without borrowed money and achieve remarkable growth. mr mutharika please stop borrowing money now. stop emulating past examples. do not say: ‘kamuzu did it, bakili did it, bingu did it, joyce did it, i will also do it (cashgate)!’ stop wasting money on circumcision rather use it for food distribution. because we do not like those queues at admarc!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we are watching u!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pwiya wa Pwiya
Guest

So much of a waste of time by Malawians yet again. These white people are clever, they connive with the so called PWC to get employment while Malawians are waiting in anticipation for results and free donations from them. By doing so, we are spending precious time we could be working. U will see after this audit, they will bring another issue to protect themselves from yet direct budget funding. In fact we still have the gay issue which almost every Malawian is against.

Benjones
Guest

Let’s wait and see how serious are these pepo. We went to see real big sharks arrested not these small usipa. Prove it this time don’t make us fools. We mean business as we know the real culprits.

Truck
Guest

AZUNGU AKUFUNA KUKUTHANDIZANI KUTI ANTHU ANABA ABWEZE NDALAMA KU DZIKO LILANDIRE NDALAMA ZOBEDWA KUTI DZIKO LIYAMBE KUYENDA BWINO INU MUKUBAKIRA ANTHU WOKUBA A MALAWI KUPUSA KWABASI

YAKI
Guest

Stupid colonialists your intention is to rule Malawi and we waste time on this instead of development go to hello with your money.

Mbowe Mulambia
Guest

I have no respect with DPP they think they are smart K577 billion was stolen by them and they are busy playing some games of putting everything on JB it won’t change anything just tell us the truth about 577 billion Kwacha

Mapwevupwevu
Guest

No to secrecy. We want access to information now!

Njobanunu
Guest

No secrecy! we need an update at every stage. That is taxpayers money! Icho nde nchinyengocho, zachamba basi! ngati simukufuna ingusiyasni! zinazi mumawulula bwa!

kambindingu "hard & low"
Guest
kambindingu "hard & low"

Wina akomokatu ndi nkhaniyi. Mmimba kuti juuuu kongomva za 577 billion.

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