An extensive audit report has exposed rot in the country’s 10 foreign missions where K2 billion public money cannot be accounted.
The recent National Audit Office report says the K2 billion cannot be accounted for due to weaknesses in the management of public finances.
The audit report covers from 2013 to 2017 and shows daring fraudulent payments into personal accounts, advances and external allowances.
Others are cash withdrawals not being accounted and use of migration funds without authority.
The affected missions include those of Ethiopia, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China.
Officials from the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry said they were studying the report before giving a comment.
The reports comes when a number of recalled diplomats are holding on to their positions at various embassies.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila warned that government can strip off the diplomatic status of those resisting to come home.
The list of the recalled diplomats shows that some of them are attachés whose contracts expired as far back as 2009, but 10 years down the line, they are still at the embassies on government payroll.
Governance and policy expert Rafiq Hajat, said in quotes reported in the press:“By paying diplomats who are living abroad and enjoying a better lifestyle than 90 percent of Malawians and allowing that state of affairs to continue even after expiry of contracts, is indeed total profligacy.”
Most of the diplomats recalled are still in the foreign missions because of their political connections to senior ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials as well as top government officials.
The names include Edith Kwilirani, third secretary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was appointed in 2006 and recalled in 2009 and Colonel Vincent Moyo, defence attache in Addis Ababa and was appointed in 2013 and recalled in 2016.
Others include; Lieutenant colonel D.G Phiri, defence attache, Beijing who was appointed in 2013 and his contract expired in 2016; Isaac Chiona, second secretary, Brasilia, appointed in 2013 and recalled in 2016.
This year government issued a notice expiry of contracts to dozens of its diplomatic envoys, including Edward Yakobe Sawerengera at the Embassy in United States, Washington DC.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry dispatched letters to Ambassador Sawerengera alongside top diplomats George Mkondiwa the Malawi High Commissioner in India, Ted Kalebe (Belgium) and Kena Mphonda (United Kingdom).
Other low-ranking diplomats have also been told their contracts expired and others have recall letters.
They included Mike Mwanyula (Brussels), Patrick Mphepo (Dheli), some staff at Washington DC and some staff at London mission.
There has been widespread criticism over Malawi’s diplomatic service which has mainly been appointed based on political affiliation to parties in government. Many have advocated for career diplomats to represent Malawi if the country is to benefit from its representation abroad through trade, among other things.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :