Open letter to Baker Tilly: Dismay over handling of auditing on Cashgate-Malawi

As a Malawian, I would like to express my utmost disappointment over your firm’s handling of the forensic audit report on the cashgate scandal in Malawi, especially the releasing of the names of the culprits.

With due respect, as a Malawian, and I believe I speak for many, your report unearthed nothing new. There was nothing much that was already not known to Malawians from the many investigative journalism that has gone into this scandal.

In fact as a Malawian, I give more credit to our local journalists who work on meagre resources for a job well done on cashgate  than your firm which has boasts of “4000 partners and staff generating a fee income of over £300million”.

The least that Malawians were expecting from you and your firm was the final nail on the coffin- the names of the culprits. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case, as it appears once again that the culprits are being shielded by an international firm hiding under the jargon of “jeopardise a successful conviction” and due “legal process”.

This is a miscarriage of natural justice for a nation of 15 million people. I have read your letter dated 13th March 2014 to Stephen Kamphasa, our so called Auditor General and am sorry to say, it is another mish-mash indirectly warning him not to release names.

Perhaps you don’t understand the impact of this scandal on the millions of lives who are suffering due to the greed of a few selfish individuals. I would humbly request you to take a trip to our hospitals, our villages, our slams and ghettos and see the inhumane conditions that our people are going through.

Once you have seen the untold suffering- the babies that are dying from needless diseases, the doctors working under unsafe conditions, the old people that go without food days on end, the raw sewage that trickle on children’s playgrounds, the kids who are missing school because their classrooms are under trees and rain has battered the area, the lowly paid teachers and civil servants whose wages are always delayed, the fireman who has no fire fighting equipment, the policeman who dies while curbing a mob due to lack of proper protection gear….maybe only then will you think twice that it is not merely a case of sitting in cosy Swindon, England writing a report that is whitewash.

Those names are what Malawians are waiting for, whether the legal cases will take off or not, successful or not successful, but at least the culprits would have been named and shamed.

I would like to stress that when your firm was hired to report on this scandal, it came as a great beacon of light and hope to millions of Malawians. But as the issue progresses, those hopes are being crushed and we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths.

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