Malawi Parly defer confirmation of Kuligomba as Auditor General

Malawi Parliament on Wednesday suspsended  the motion for the confirmation of Anderson George Kuligomba as Auditor General following  the retirement of the previous office holder Reckford Kampanje in August.

Finance Minister Ken Lipenga moved a motion to ask the House approve Kuligomba, who was appointed by President Mrs Joyce Banda to replace Kampanje at the National Audit Office (NAO).  Kulugomba’s name was seconded by Lilongwe Msozi South MP Vitus Dzoole-Mwale (MCP).

In the House deliberations monitored by Nyasa Times live on Zodiak radio, Lipenga said in Kuligomba, President Banda “could not have made a better choice in selecting our new Auditor General.”

He said Kuligomba, born in 1957, is a Fellow of Association of Chartered Accountants who has Masters in Business Administaryion from Derby University in UK with  40 years of experience as an accountant.

Mussa: Unconstitutional to have two Auditor Generals

Kuligomba is currently a Managing Director of Nedbank.

Point of order

But rising on a point of order Member of Parliament for Chiradzulu East Constituency, Henry Mussa, a member of Parliament’s Public Appointment and Declaration of Assets Committee said it was irregurar for government to proceed to appoint a new Auditor General when Kampanje was still on government payroll.

“There is no vacancy in the office of the Auditor General unless government informed this House to the contrary,” said Mussa

“The incumbent Mr. Rexford Kampanje is still Auditor General  in office until such time the government concluded his retirement,” said Mussa.

He asked government to “conclude the process of retiring the incumbent” before approving the new Auditor General which Mussa noted he will support as his homeboy from Chiradzulu.

Said  Mussa: “It will be unconstitutional for us to proceed without concluding the issue of Kampaje.”

Serious business

Leader of the House, Henry Duncan Phoya (HDP) defended the appointment of Kuligomba.. He started by quoting former Malawi president Dr Bakili Muluzi that “running governmentt is serious business.”

He said: “There is no way this government would have brought his matter in the House if the issues were still outstanding.”

Phoya, a lawyer and a Senior Counsel , explained: “The previous holder in this position did have leave days but he choose to be paid money in lieu of his leave days. That has been done. There is a vacancy hence the appointment which was made by Her Excellency the President.”

He said Mussa made “a mere statement without support” but that he had in possession a material objective evidence to support his statement that there is a vacancy, that is in a form of a letter by Kampanje.

Rising again, Mussa said: “If there is evidence, submit it.”

Lilongwe Mapuyu south MP Joseph Njobvuyalema   supported Mussa said government should resolve the matter first that “set a bad precedent.”

But Phoya insisted he has a leter from the previous holder of the office  but said he would only disclose the contents of it if given permission by Office of President and Cabinet and the author..

“You do not disclose confidential information just like that,” he said.

Shelved

The matter was shelved after deputy speaker Jones Chingola asked the House.

Kampanje’s early retirement came at a time when NAO was locked in controversy after audit exposed alleged abuses of funds resulting in the Norwegian Government withholding of support while the Department for International Development (DfID) warned that there will be no funding until the audit queries are resolved

Recently government appointed of Rexie Chiluzi, who was assistant Auditor General, as the Deputy Auditor General (DAG) with effect from September 27 2012.

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