Audit probe in Vice President’s office ordered

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered the Auditor-General to revisit account books in the Office of the Vice President following conflicting explanations on contents of an audit report and presentations by controlling officers.

The new audit request was made by PAC in Lilongwe on Wednesday after officials from the Veep’s office appeared before the committee to answer queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.

The development follows reports that there is already a probe into a serious violation of procurement procedures by Vice President’s office, involving K35 million for Mapanga Furniture to refurbish Mudi and Area 12 state residences in June, 2009.

Vice President Joyce Banda: Audit in her office

Chairperson of PAC, Beatrice Mwangonde, said the audit report has “irregularities” and needed to be revisited so that it can be presented with clarity.

“There is need for the Auditor General to verify some of the expenditures,” Mwangonde said.

Senior Deputy Secretary in the office of the vice president, Isaac Msiska said the office has since provided “all records to the Auditor General.”

The audit report says the office of the Vice President did not record the money it used to purchase food worth about K964 000 between January 2006 and February 2008.

The report also indicates that the office did not account for the fuel purchase valued at 12 million K500 it made from September 2006 to September 2009.

According to a leaked documents sourced by Nyasa Times, the office of the Vice President is also embroiled in a scandal that it gave Mapanga furniture  a K35, 342, 215.99 contract to supply goods and services without following proper procedures.

“We have refurbished and supplied various items of furniture to the Mudi House in Blantyre, the office and the residence of the Vice President in Lilongwe. The above orders were placed with us by the Right Honourable Vice president of Malawi Mrs. Joyce Banda” reads part of the letter addressed to the Principal Secretary in the Office of the Vice president and signed by the financial controller for Mapanga Mr. GL Kamath on December 15th 2009.

A statement of account sourced indicate that the company charged a K33,350, 571.50 to supply the asked equipment but the figure rose to K35, 342,215.99 with an interest charge of K1,991,644.49.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance which had been refusing to honour the payment for sometime because of its suspicion over the way the contract was awarded paid the suppliers in November, 2010 more than a year after the supply and refurbishment work.

Malawi government procurement procedures require that tenders be advertised in the newspapers, after which the Internal Procurement Committee sits down to identify the successful bidder.

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