Mbendera, Commissioners won’t resign despite ‘fraud’ report at Malawi Electoral Commission

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justice Maxon Mbendera, has refused to resign over allegations of “management fraud” in flouting of procurement and recruitment procedures at the institution between July 2012 and December 2014.

Justice Maxon Mbendera: MEC accused of management fraud

Justice Maxon Mbendera: MEC accused of management fraud

Nyasa Times reported that a special investigative audit conducted following allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud indicates that MEC had poor financial management controls and that the commission procured and spent resources outside its budget; recruited staff without following procedures;  made procurements without following regulations and disposed of 26 vehicles in a non-procedural manner.

But speaking at the opening of a course on Demarcation and Elections at Malawi Sun Hotel on Monday, Justice Mbendera was in denial of the audit report, saying it was a ploy to “tarnish the image” of him personally and the other Commissioners.

The training is targeting Commissioners of MEC, secretaries general and directors of elections for political parties.

The fraud allegations in the report before the Secretary to the Treasury and donor community, continued to diminish the reputation of MEC and public confidence in its leadership.

But Mbendera refuse to heed calls to step down in the best interest of the commission so that the investigations can proceed with the credibility that is needed.

He said the report was not conclusive and vows to fight to save his image.

But one comment posted on Nyasa Times challenged Mbendera to understand that he holds two public offices –a Supreme Court judge and MEC chair – both of which require that he be held accountable.

“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 account, resign, which is long overdue. No one will miss you, you’ve done enough damage already,” reads the comment.

Commissioner Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri also said the report is not final and deny any wrong doing of the commissioners.

“These are allegations that are aimed at diverting public attention from the current myriad of problems Malawi is facing,” said Chimkwita Phiri.

He said the current commission struggled to clear similar fraud allegation of the previous commission which dented the electoral body’s image to the corporating partners.

Phiri fears the current allegation will affect its position to feed support from donors.

According to audit findings, MEC made bank transfers amounting to K118 667 404.44 to some unknown accounts; and paid out K15 422 756 in external travel allowances to commissioners and senior officers for trips that were not undertaken.

Other findings of financial mismanagement included personal loans paid from operation accounts without evidence of repayment K39 922 286.00 which were reportedly paid to commissioners and other senior managers at MEC.

A K16 million gratuity paid from operation funds is also a bone of contention as well as use of MEC funds on unapproved travel that cost K2 228 975.00; unjustified hiring of motor vehicles for the commission’s chief executive officer Willie Kalonga at K7 043 662, and overlapping subsistence allowances amounting to K4 688 000.00.

The audit also referred to an ad hoc expenditure on borrowing of lamps and tents from Zimbabwe during the elections which the auditors found was not provided for in the MEC budget.

The auditors also suspected under-valuation of a vehicle for the chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera whose repair costs were assessed at K1.4 million, but valuation was pegged at K1.5 million and Kalonga’s vehicle, whose repair costs were assessed at K396 854 but valuation was pegged at K350 000.

“The audit team made an effort to enquire from [the car dealer] in order to establish the cause of under-valuation which was below or almost equal to assessed repair cost.

“But the official who signed the valuation forms [at the car dealer] deliberately avoided meeting the auditors,” reads the report.

MEC’s head of public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa and Chief Elections Officer Kalonga also said they would wait for the “final report” from the auditors which would contain the commission’s responses to the auditors’ queries.

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58 thoughts on “Mbendera, Commissioners won’t resign despite ‘fraud’ report at Malawi Electoral Commission”

  1. Nyirongo Batwell says:

    Ever since 20 May Nyasatimes hates Maxon Mbendera. Tell us how fraud happened without accounts or finance personnel. Why are you so silent on finance people. Who facilitated these fraudulent activities?

  2. anzeru says:

    Lord Jesus we need your devine intervention on this. A lot has really been said. But the question is where on earth can an Audit reveal a Fraud issue without any involvement of Finance office??? Procurement office?? What do I make out this – WITCH HUNTING!!!!!! WITCH HUNTERS and nothing else. Mtima oyipa uwu. I have been working in Finance Dept myself for over 20yrs. No Fraud can exist without the Hand of Treasury-finance personnel. Mukufuna mupusitse ndani with your fake revelation – Zolengatu izi. Amalawi tamatsekukani maso!!! Palibe Fraud ingachitike popanda munthu wa ku Finance except – (Fake, man-made, day dreaming, cooked, Judas Iscariot reporting). Mulungu akulangani abale. Kufunira anzanu zoipatu uke – Ma jealousy onsewatu awa. That’s what happens pamalo pakachuluka ana anjoka- ana a Satana. I repeat, “Where on earth can an Audit reveal a Fraud without any involvement of Finance of Procurement offices”. Zeni Zeni zimeneyo???? Zachamba basi!!!!!. Malawi needs deliverance. Ofunika kulapa.

  3. Angoni says:

    Asiye sikono….????????

  4. Denguzman says:

    Mutayeni Mbendera ntchito iyi anachita kuyililira misozi and sangalore kupanga resign coz misozi yake sanamalize kuyipuputa.

  5. belekiya says:

    As a learned Justice, Mbendera knows that if there are allegations, one needs to honourably step aside and allow for investigations and if he is proved innocent, he gets back to the chair. Refusing the course of justice mens accepting wrong doing. Even in Chichewa, we say kutsutsa galu nkukumba. Bwana Mbendera, allow us to dig and you shall be vindicated

  6. Jacob ngwira says:

    Natalia,
    God will hold you responsible for your statements . You don’t call people names just like that .
    Instant judgment is upon you. You will die within three weeks

  7. Bwanoni says:

    Mbendera stole the election for his DPP and now Money!

  8. Natalia says:

    Mbendera , fake Pastor Chimkwita and Kalonga must resign to pave way for investigation. If you look at MEC carefully you will see that 3 people are always on top of defending it .this 3 are natural crooks . Mbendera is not straight forward . Chimkwita ndiuyu mbusa okonda kuchinda akazi an eni in the name of Jesus . Kalonga mbava ask DFID anaonongako .ACB ntchito iyo

  9. Let’s sober up and be objective. MEC has a whole dept of finance headed by a Director, what was his role in this saga?
    The report talks about unreliable reconciliations, is this Mbendera’s responsibility?
    The report says MEC does not maintain a cash book, is this Mbendera ‘s responsibility?
    The report talks of advances not being deducted? Is this Mbendera’s responsibility ?
    The report talks about duplications in travel allowances, is this Mbendera’s responsibility?

    There are so many other areas where the Finance department has been faulted and analysts don’t appears to mention them. To me the problem is the finance division . It is rotten !!!

    1. peter says:

      What was Mbendera doing if some sections were not ticking? I thought he is chair and need to take responsibility? Otherwise, why should we have a board/board chair if they cant provide guidance on how to transact? If we agree as a nation that the leadership of MEC should not take responsibility then we must abolish all leadership positions starting with the executive, judiciary and parliament. We should go back to our times before civilisation!!!

  10. machonisa says:

    Mbendera ndi mbava yoopsa. Akufunai akhalebe ku MEC kuti adzaberenso chisankho cha 2019.

  11. Chimani. Game says:

    Typical of Malawi…idiots

  12. anadimba says:

    musamaba ndinu?????kapppena kusowa kwakubako.

  13. moya says:

    We shouldn’t let this man feel bigger than malawi actually malawi is bigger than him whether he has billions from the loot we don’t care he needs to go yesterday. We demonstrations if that’s what it takes.he has lost trust of Malawians unless peter has a better explanation why he is keeping him at that post?

  14. if Mbendera goes Mutharika can not win elections. so Bwampini is protecting him. that’s it

  15. Nankununkha sadzimva says:

    That’s Malawi people are not ashamed of themselves. They don’t know what is right or wrong. If it were somewhere else this dude should have resigned the time he messed up elections

  16. Concerned says:

    Ambendela mumayitha, munthu wankulu azioneka…, samangonvela zinazilizonse zomwe ana akunena, amaziwa kuti adakali michibwana chawo

  17. Ma says:

    Kodi Ralph ananwalira?

  18. Kennedy says:

    Evil mbendera you will pay for your actions, days are numbered. We are suffering because of mbendera, please God have mercy on us.
    Mbendera knows the truth will let you be the judge Lord, these corrupt leaders terminate them before innocent people perish.

  19. haward says:

    Inetu Mbendera ulemu wonse ndidachotsa pa iyeyu. Akulimba mtima ndichani kuti azinena kuti sindingachoke, akudziwa kuti kumbuyo kwake kuli zigawenga zinzake

  20. Bololo says:

    When and where have you heard of a Malawian resigning? Not even when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Doing the honourable thing isn’t in the Malawian psyche. Intergrity is a foreign concept. We hang on till we get dragged by the legs kicking and screaming. That is what we are, and God fearing, apparently.

  21. Impeachment Agenda l says:

    This is a test for Mutharika, a new begging of you like “Immediately suspend Mbendera and the MEC”.
    But that cannot happen under incompetent thief and looter Mutharika. Mutharika is in power until 2024 no party and no power except if MCP wakes up from its slumber can rid Malawi of this bafoon Mutharika.

  22. Peter27 says:

    Thats it? Just talk talk talk? Resign resign resign? He needs to be pushed man! Who can resign on such a cushy job by just being told like that? Someone needs to PUSH THEM off MEC. And do not wait for APM coz he is not going to so it.

  23. Bastardo says:

    We will force to resign Mbendera you who rigged elections to make DPP win!!

  24. George Kamanga says:

    mbendera your end is disastrous. around the corner there is a sharp spear which will destroy you. count your days as you count the number of your fingers and toes.

  25. Africa says:

    Please leave Mr MEC enough is enough, Do you really want us to belive that your Innocent? Just step down to pave the way for justice.

  26. Chiphwusi says:

    Thieves will always be thieves no matter how educated or sophisticated

  27. Benson T Phiri says:

    Munthu wakuba

  28. Balamanthu says:

    Somebody needs to get an writ from the High court and seek that the judge and the commissioners should resign.If they dont, where is their credibility and honour.How can the citizens trust such an overtly corrupt commission

  29. Balamanthu says:

    The Honourable Justice Maxon Mbendera should indeed resign regardless.He stopped being an honourable judge when he single handedly aided the DPP government come to power exemplified in the way he cried when announcing official election results in 2014.Indeed if he refuses to be accountable, then he ought to resign and work on his supreme court judge job where he is only accountable to his foolishness and lack of integrity.

  30. Professor Linton Pamberiii says:

    Alira uyoyo sanati

  31. Kalulu says:

    ACB Ntchito Iyi!

  32. matako a pusi says:

    To glory be the meek poor and the innocent for they shall inherit the God’s kingdom not thieves the corrupt liars nepotists amen

  33. Dr Haswel P Bandawe says:

    I appeal to the affected MEC members especially the Chirman, to suspend themselves to allow an inquiry to be conducted without seeming to interfere with its progress.

    Let the facts speak for themselves. Anyone seemingly involved will have a chance to state their case during the investigation. Public posturing and denials of any wrong-doing is not the way to go.

  34. chatonda says:

    Very good Nyasatimes for bringing up this story once again when the president is back so that he can hear it for himself. No one is above the law and Mbendera has no mandate on his own to challenge that he cannot resign. If he does then he should be fired full stop. MEC is for the nation and not individuals like kalonga and Chinkwita. These have outlived their lifespan at MEC. Let the government seal MEC offices sooner than later so that investigations should be done without intereference from the few greedy thieves. Mind you, they did not pass exams to be at MEC but just appointed an d can easily be removed too. Which law defends thieves on earth?

  35. Charombanthu says:

    Are you implying that the audit report is erroneous? It is not us citizens who have issued the report, but government auditors. Step aside for further investigations and if it is proved that you are innocent, you will go back to your position. This is straight foward. What message are you sending to the world? Man up and give room for further investigations instead of clinging on to the position. I thought you are a professional – but you are behaving like a politician.

  36. i miss kamuzu says:

    then why were you crying that time?

  37. kadamanja says:

    Apa tingopanga za nkhondo panopo nanga munthu waba sakumangidwa, akuti sindipanga resign, ife tizikhalila kulira zoona? Mbendela you dont deserve to live. Iwe wawononga dziko lathu ili. we will be following you up or you better resign. Thats my warning!

  38. Mafikizolo says:

    The removal of Maxon Mbendera from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is one issue that will require public demonstrations when the time comes . Mbendera will have to go “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”, to quote the words of Malcom X.

  39. kabotolokamo says:

    Tipical ! What do we expect ! Ho wait until he gets old we will get him and get him good …..

  40. marvey marvei says:

    Nyasatimes, be careful you are in danger of showing your vested interest in MEC officials not strengthening MEC the institution. How do you investigate people when a financial investigation called AUDIT is yet to be finalised (according to Nations Msowoya quoted in Saturday Nation of 3 October).
    By the way does MEC have anyone responsible for accounting and Finance or do commissioners do their own accounting and finance, which is very unusual in a public institution. Why didn’t the finance people advise accordingly. Your articles seem to be very silent on the role of the finance department. Money does not get lost in organisations without the involvement or incompetence of accounting and finance people.

  41. MSANA WA PETURO says:

    Vindere vokhavoka.

  42. becks says:

    Opposition nanu mukugona maningi

  43. Honala says:

    Refuse because this country belongs to your mother. MXXXXIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

  44. Chatsalira says:

    This is Africa. What can you expect.
    No one ever resigns in light of scandal.

    In Africa that is when the culprits goes to highest mountain and declare that they will never resign.

  45. M E C says:

    UFITI MKULUYU
    SAMVANSO ZA ANZAKE
    KUKHWIMA TOO MUCH !!

  46. chakhalira says:

    A Mbendera ndi A Busa Chimkwita, chonde chokani mwaulemu wanu. We very well know the mess you created for Malawians. We also know what you are afraid of if you resigned.

    But this mess you have created for Malawians will always haunt you forever. The other day I was coming from Katuli in Mangochi in a 3 Ton Truck. At the back of it sat an old man. This man had urinated in his pair of trousers. When people were dropping at their respective stages, this man got so stuck in the truck. But there came a time when every one else was dropping. Then we saw that all his pair of trousers were soacked with Urine. It may be the same with you!!!!!
    Ganizani Bwino!!!!!

  47. bombadier says:

    Results of audit is not the end of audit. Audit goes on until the findings of the audit are reconciled with records of the officers for the audit client. Not asking a good man Mbenedera to resign. Resigning for what?

    I mean Zoak how would you feel somebody telling you to close up your radio simply because you have goofed over one issue or so issues. Is closing you guys for good be a solution to that problem.

    Please be mature. MEC commissioners have the right to be heard. They are there for a living. This is Malawi in particular even Africa in general where no body resigns becaause of such scenarios . Kuputsa bawnji.

    Gospel machende ako. kapena magalimoto akuchulukira eti. Tiotcha enawo tsiku liri lonse. Watch out.Your mouth is bigger than what you can chew.GOSPEL tikukuona kuti ukutokota kwambiri. Bwanji sadakulipire chifukwa chothandiza kubera mavoti.

    Ndipo radio yako ukulengeza zonse za ku central region basi. Umvesere programu yako yomwe ukuchula za escom kapen waterboard kapena za zachipatala. Azimayi ndi ana onse akulankhula m’pologaramuyo ndi a dedza, dowa. Garu wa mchira wautali iwe yeti.

  48. Doctor says:

    “The South African Independent Electoral Commission chairperson R320 million lease saga.”

    An example to heed,

    In South Africa Pansy Tlakula, held the position of the position of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson in 2011.

    She had an impeccable career and was one of South Africa’s great success stories of women from humble beginnings scaling to great heights. She was not the kind of public figure who had been constantly chased by scandal and poor performance. She was an achiever and aimed for excellence. But she conducted herself really badly on the Independent Electoral Commission headquarters lease deal, and then undertook a protracted battle to evade responsibility for it.

    The South African Public Protector released a report “Inappropriate Moves” on the R320 million IEC lease investigation. She recommended that the Speaker of Parliament consider what action should be taken against the chairperson for her role in the procurement “in light of the undisclosed and unmanaged conflict of interest and her contravention of the procurement laws and prescripts”.

    She responded, that the Public Protector did not have the power to investigate the allegations against her, or refer the matter to the Speaker of Parliament to take action. She said while the Public Protector Act gave the Public Protector, the power to investigate maladministration in government, the IEC, while being an organ of state, “does not form part of government”.

    However the National Treasury conducted a forensic investigation into the procurement, which found that the procurement was neither fair, transparent nor cost-effective. The Treasury found that she did not give guidance nor inform people what was expected of them in the process.

    She took the matter to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the Electoral Court, which had found her guilty, had erred in its judgment . She denied that she was guilty of misconduct.

    The Constitutional Court dismissed her application for an appeal.

    She had the option of subjecting herself through the parliamentary of process of implementing the Electoral Court’s recommendation that she be removed from her position. Instead, she decided to resign.

    She had received some sympathy, particularly in Ruling party circles, because there was never any proof that she benefited personally from the lease deal. She had just “adjusted” the playing field so that a comrade and her business partner was able to benefit. In the general scheme of things, it seems not to be a serious offence, her sympathisers argue.

    It is this type of rationality that has causes politics in any country to become a cesspool of corruption.

    It was a tragic end to IEC chairperson public life and no person should celebrate such an inglorious end to an outstanding career.

    She lost it because she became infected with the sickness that inflicts so many in public office – the temptation to abuse her position.

    And then, like so many others, she attempted every possible route to avoid taking responsibility for her misconduct.

    For a country to have a future, we need to believe that democracy works today. The South African IEC Chairperson was in a position that required the country to trust her completely. She had to be like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach. She was not.

  49. Only Democrat Left says:

    Correction should read:
    In power Bakili Muluzi looted public funds, using some of the money to rig the elections for Bingu, Bingu in powe looted almost a billion US dollars, then Joyce Banda looted more then Bakili but less that Bingu because of her short time in office, then Peter Mutharika used the money his brother stole to rig the elections and put himself in power. Now Peter Mutharika is stealing and looting to replenish the money he used to rig the elections. THIS IS NOT THE DEMOCRACY WE WANTED IN 1994.

  50. Kavuluvulu says:

    Chinkwita ndiwakuba.Wokonda ndarama zedi.

  51. Tina says:

    Really? Tanish?

  52. Only Democrat Left says:

    It is quite clear that democracy has totally failed in Malawi. We have replaced the one party rule by Dr Kamuzu Banda and MCP, with a system of rule by the party best positioned to rig the elections.
    Sadly out of of the 5 Presidential elections since 1994, only the election under Kamuzu was not rigged and Kamuzu allowed Bakili Muluzi to take over as UDF defeated MCP.
    But then Bakili rigged the 1999 elections and 2004 elections to put Bingu into power to protect him, but Bingu was too greedy to do that.
    Now democracy is only the colour of the party cloth and the tribe of a leader. We have no democracy.
    Corruption, Nepotism, Tribalism is more rampant now then under Kamuzu. Our Presidents have no respect for democracy or public money. In power Bakili Muluzi looted the public funds, then Bingu looted even more then Bakili, then Joyce Banda looted even more thank Bakili Muluzi but nor as much as Bingu as she was in power for a short time, Peter Mutharika used the millions of dollars that his brother Bingu stole to rig the election and is now looting to top up what Bingu left for him..
    What Malawi needs now is to cleanse itself of every single politician and start afresh, NO MUTHARIKA, NO MULUZI, NO JOYCE BANDA’s SON, we need to start afresh. If we cannot do this be sure of this, Mutharika will rig the 2019 elections, and DPP will remain in power for the next 50 years, as opposition parties have no idea of how to prevent rigging of elections, and DPP has Mbendera and Brian Bowler to rig,

  53. Mphwache says:

    A Jpse Mourinho nokha-nokha

  54. mapapaya says:

    Udziwe kuti ma Commissioner ena ndi ma lawyer ndipo satekseka ndi nkhani zopusa ngati zakozi. Masabata angati ukulemba za MEC zokhazokha?

  55. DZUWA LINYENGA says:

    Kapumeni dziko kungochitika misala aliyesense kulira

  56. peter says:

    Yes Mbendera is free to defend himself but he should do that after relinquishing his position as MEC chair.

  57. Phinifolo says:

    If you cannot resign, you will be embarrassed as we will force you out. Foolish fools.

Comments are closed.