MEC-cashgate: Director of finance ‘sacrificed’, on forced leave

The director of finance at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Khumbo Phiri , has been sent on forced leave on suspected cashgate activities between July 2012 and December 2014 which Nyasa Times first reported following a special investigative audit .

Kalonga: Fingured in the audit

Kalonga: Fingured in the audit

The fraud allegations in the report before the Secretary to the Treasury and donor community, as conducted by the Central Internal Audit Unit under the Ministry of Finance following allegations of financial misconduct and fraud in the procurement and recruitment procedures by the institution’s top management.

MEC management is sacrificing Phiri in the damaging scandal , and they blaming the financial director of lacking leadership in the directorate of finance to discharge its functions accordingly and as required by law as well as international accounting standards.

“Following this unacceptable performance, the commission will constitute a disciplinary panel shortly to enable you to defend yourself against these charges,” read a letter seen by Nyasa Times, dated October 6 2015 titled Disciplinary Hearing signed by MEC deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Lellie Brian Longwe.

Phiri has expressed “suprise” with MEC for making him a sacrificial lamb when he has not been mentioned by the auditors in their report for wrong doing.

He said “ someone is really trying very hard to conceal the real findings of the auditors.”

Ministry of Finances said the audit was carried “because MEC’s large budget vis a vis the national budget posed a higher fiscal risk”.

On procurement, the auditors reported that they did not find evidence of a claim of payment for supply of goods by a Tanzanian company, SCI, amounting to K16.6 million; goods procured outside procurement plan and budget amounting to K40.6 million and procurement without Office of the Director of Public Procurement amounting to K526.6 million.

According to the executive summary of the audit report, MEC top management misused or failed to satisfactorily explain how about K1.5 billion ($2,727,272) was used on several activities.

Among the several queries include payments CEO Willie Kalonga paid to himself amounting to K2.2 million ($4000) for a personal trip to his private study graduation without the approval of the commission.

And that Kalonga operated a secret account at Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) which was used for suspected cashgate activities.

A special secret code named CEO Account at MSB opened in March 2014 number 1024883104001 was overdrawn by K8, 093,858.33 on 31/12/2014 in the bank while many transacts were not entered in the cashbook which was overdrawn by K33,819,387.69.

The abuse on the account cost the public K20, 634,732.20 in accumulated bank charges and interest which were also missing in the cashbook.

MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, was a recipient of the mysterious cash transfers which the management of the electoral body failed to produce documentation detailing purpose of payment.

Kalonga’s account received K37, 191,268.37 of the transfers between 14/07/2014 to 08/10/2014 with no proper accounting records and payments, the audit report reads.

“We have noted the observation and promise to make a thorough follow up to trace the documents to account for the transferred funds. We believe that weakness in recording and keeping of records might have caused the event,” MEC management defended their position when they responded to the audit query.

However, the audit report has recommended that the commission should be made answerable to Parliament on the use of the taxpayers money.

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29 thoughts on “MEC-cashgate: Director of finance ‘sacrificed’, on forced leave”

  1. cop says:

    MEc needs deliverance. Chi were were chanyanya. Onse matupi a top up basi. Official girlfriends at the office mpaka kumakanganilana zikavuta kukamuuza mkazi wake was munthu Ali amuna anu athesa chibwenzi ayamba ndi wakuti awapatsa matenda ameneujanso bola ine. Amene muli ndi mayina a zibwenzi ku MEC ponyani ndikuuzani kuti chibwenzi cake ndani

  2. QCM. says:

    Mwadyerana QCM kapena? It seems there is a battle between the two. Ife ma QZCM tilungonelera mulatto mutiuza. QCM wake amakoma mqantundu wanji kuti snthu ayambsne chonchi?

  3. Benson T Phiri says:

    kodi ameneyi ndi mtumbuka chifukwa akanankhala Mlomwe sakanamuyimitsa .

  4. buzi says:

    Comment from mec official is surely kalongas wife, Mary just to cover her hubby. Who told you khumbo is in Mozambique to see asinganga? That means your husband is doing that, zathina. You know mwayaluka and people will not respect you anymore. You work yes, but stealing is a shame. No wonder he has girlfriends, apart. From you the wife and also several children outside marriage. I hope u have a calculator, ukusova.

  5. George Ngwira says:

    It appears like the audit was done by street boys.
    The Chief Elections Officer account is a duly authorised account by the Minister of finance. There is nothing sinister about it. Some Ministries have similar accounts in the name of Secretary for Agriculture, Secretary for Educstion etc.
    How can an a bank account be secret when it has as many as six signatories and its records maintained by the Director of Finance?
    Nyasatimes, take time to analyse your stories before publishing.
    AMalawi tiyeni tiphunzire chilungamo. Nsanje ndi kaduka zachuluka kwambiri sitingatukuke

  6. Jocob Madeira says:

    Khumbo is a useless character. Iye koma kuchinda mahule pa Kamba. The guy graduated over 20 years ago but still a Batchelor , living in a 2 bedroomed MHC house in maone.
    I am not surprised kuti ndi mbuzi yolephera

  7. Sapitwa says:

    Director of Finance: Khumbo! Kkkkkkkkk

  8. angoni apaphata says:

    As an accountant the Director of finance should have expected this. He is the final custodian of all financial records. Ma cheque amalembedwawo if it was Kalonga secret account mec would not be involved but they were coming out of Mec which means he is the biggets judas or failure ndiye anamuonelera. Ukakhala accountant opepera amakuoneleraabwana

  9. chikwangwani says:

    investigate even the way Bruce munthali, kamala and shela has been recruiting members of staff at tobacco control commission. njatani yense wakuba shupitiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  10. marvey marvei says:

    Thanks for this story.
    From your investigations why was the secret account named CEO and not KALONGA. CEO is a position and not an individual’s name so I am confused.
    From your investigation exactly how much did the chairman receive from this account. I ask because you were able to give us the rest of the details.
    Finally, who is responsible for maintaining a cashbook at MEC is it the Chairman, the CEO or the finance department. Please inform us of the financial structure.

  11. MEC OFFICIAL says:

    Forget about all these stories about mismanagement. Its Khumbo Phiri who wrote an anonymous letter to Finance with a view of implicating Willie Kalonga!! It has backfired and Khumbo today is busy with asing’anga. Right now he is in Mozambique in Quillimane meeting a sing’anga!!
    Willie is the best CEO MEC has ever had. Professional and well educated ( by the way He has two Masters degrees both passed with distinction). Those who write nonsense have nothing!!
    Since he rejoined in 2012 , salaries have gone up 400%. Mind you there was no single increment at MEC for 6 good years.
    We have tasted promotions at MEC; over 70% of staff have cars at MEC!! in general staff welfare has improved tremendously under Kalonga.
    Kalonga has a contract and everything he got is contained in his contract. You cant change that.
    Moreover, in matters of finance, he is not the final authority. All payments in MEC are approved and authorised by Commissioners. So if there was any wrong payment, it was sanctioned by Commissioners.
    You may write what you want, but Malawi government is a huge institution. Its policies are not shaped by jealousy , envy or hatred.

  12. tonde wa mbuzi says:

    Pvho muyifufuze ndi stecelia motors ya uneducated form 4 chap owner who operates with unqualified personnel.

  13. Ma says:

    Nde Mbendera and Karonga akutanino not resigning? Or APM why is he quiet? Mary nanga wa ACB? WHY QUIET MBAVA IZI ZILI PA MBALAMVANDA?

  14. KALULU says:

    God is with us and the almighty one will help us to clean our country Malawi

  15. Charombanthu says:

    The whole MEC management is rotten. Phiri is just a sacrificial lamb to bluff us all…. The whole management needs overhauling forthwith.

  16. Mwandida says:

    In My analysis of the MEC scandals, I clearly put the blame squarely on the Director of finance. He is the one who was failing to do reconciliations , not Mbendera or Kalonga. If the bank account was overdrawn, it is the stupidity of the director of finance. As custodian of the budget , the director of finance failed to advise management that some budget lines were overdrawn . He had the responsibility to correct this with Treasury.
    We are told MEC has no cash book , really ? What the hell does the director of finance do?
    Records of payments missing , really ? Are we serious ? Mbendera and Kalonga are not custodians of such documents . The director of finance is!!
    The whole report is about the worst director of finance I have ever head !!
    Mbendera, why send him on leave ? Just fire him immediately

  17. Free Born says:

    Corruption has already done the worst things for Malawi. Now comes another team of Kalonga, Membera and the like. This is the same team that chose the under performing president for Malawians. These guys surely deserve to be tamed at the Zomba Maximum Prison. As so Mr Flag he already shed his precious tear as a sign of evil intoxication. Men in Malawi really cry in public unless intoxicated with evil.

  18. Ramsey Majiga says:

    Ndiloleni apa pokha ndilembe maganizo anga………………………………….which MEC, ya bwana Mbendera amene anakwaniritsa zofuna za bwana oho….tiona ngati zitheke ine diso tuzuuu!

  19. ..and it never stops…why my Malawi…Why…

  20. Victor Jumbo says:

    Corruption in Malawi has reached industrial scale. This is a disease that cannot be cured by visionless and unscrupulous leaders we have in power today. The major problem at the moment is, most of the leaders in government and other public sector have committed atrocities and engaged themselves in corruption activities while serving in government under different political parties and they know each other’s atrocities and their shady deals so much that No one can point a finger at the other person and reveal to the public nothing else but the truth without their’s being made known. To cut the story short, I believe at the moment there is Nobody in Government now from top to bottom who is innocent and bold enough to come out clean. This is a big problem especially when you vote for people into power whose hands are full of dirt. These people have been there for a long time and keep joining from one party to another in search of easy money driven by pure greedy and not serving the citizens. But my biggest problem is the APM who to appear to have lost the control of the sinking Ship. He as a captain has shown no leadership skills in dealing with the Cashgate Scandal so as to bring back sanity in the government and win back donors trust. Instead he goes to the far east, China and what will happen when grants and loans from China goes down the drains just like western donors funds which have disappeared mysteriously from government coffers with only small fish being caught. Where are the big fish? What was the job of our Auditor and Accountant generals? What was the reserve bank governer doing and where was the minister of finance. What have done so far to make sure that all the stolen money from government coffers is recovered to benefit all Malawians? Please don’t only know how to party , work hard first and wake up from your slamber. Go out there and see the reality of how the poor people are suffering.
    Concerned citizen, Victor Jumbo.

  21. bostonmbawajohnbothachimudikiu says:

    In all fairness MEC is rotten and Willie Kalonga must be fired or sent on forced leave and do thoough investgation kalonga is a thief and why target only the Director of Finance and Maxson Mbendera is a thief and he should not be allowed to chair MEC thats foolish nyapapi

    1. bostonmbawajohnbothachimudikiu says:


  22. Mzee says:

    Komanso ku Local Government ndikoyenera kufufuza. Investigate the former Controller of Accounting service a Mr Mwamadi and PS S. Ligomeka anthu akuba zedi. Kungoti Ligomeka is very cunning kaya ku Housing nyumba zilimba kaya. Ligomeka pamodzi ndi Henry Mussa amadya ndi Stafford Mpoola. Tiyeni nawo iwo kumamanga nyumba zambiri ife tikukanika kumanga toilet.

  23. Muhiphethere says:

    Yes kathyali Bruce Munthali of Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) must be investigated. And that should happen now!!!! Tobacco buyers must explain who tells them to buy at 1 dollar in Malawi and at 4 dollars in Zambia. Munthali was pocketing the difference, frustrating the president’s call for better tobacco prices in the process.

  24. zakif '10 pin' issa, man of boil says:

    ufiti too much amalawi. ndalama zopeza mokuba sizikoma anthuni. how many examples do you need kuti mumvetse? everytime a child dies in hospital due to lack of medicine, god removes one full year from a thief’s life. when he’s done with the thief, he works on the mtundu onse wakwawo.






  26. Chimdzakazi says:

    Good work in the offing, if this is the work of public service reform then it’s good development. PLEASE make sure this bush fire doesn’t stop at MEC, there are other Statutory Corporations where money has been cash-gated like at The Tobacco Control Commission during the fired CEO Bruce Munthali. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, for the sake of progress, National Audit Office or Foreinsic Auditors should quickly intervene.

  27. Alex Likoswe says:

    Stink-Kalonga, Flag

  28. Nkhosa says:

    Munya ku MEC chaka chake nchino. Mudathandiza kubera chisankho mumaona ngati chauta sakuona. Ifetu timapemphera ndipo we continue praying that you be dealt with by the Mighty hand of God

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