Audit reveal K92bn abused in 2010: JB ‘eager’ to know Malawi cashgaters

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said an audit has revealed that in 2010 at least 92 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $204m) was abused from the government finance management system.

This was in reaction to a British-funded forensic audit report which revealed that 13 billion Malawi Kwacha (about US $30m) disappeared from government coffers since she took over power.

Speaking at a news conference she held in Lilongwe on Tuesday, President Banda said an audit revealed that apart from the K13 billion cashgate scandal, the country should also know what happened to the K91 billion which was abused in 2010 under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) reign.

“In 2010 an audit show that K92 billion was lost when some of us were not there including some of these ministers were not there,” Banda told reporters at the State House.

President Banda: We should know of the 2010 K91 bn cashgate
President Banda: We should know of the 2010 K91 bn cashgate

Banda said the National Assembly should discuss the K13 billion cashgate audit and the K91 billion audit concurrently.

The Malawi leader said she has invited the officials of the British accountancy firm, Baker Tilly, which released an independent audit report into a systematic looting of public money to explain their work to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report doesn’t name any perpetrators but details have been passed to law-enforcement agencies including the Police.

Auditor General, Minister of Finance Maxwell Mkwezalamba and the British High Commission have refused to release the names with British High Commissioner Michael Nevin saying releasing the names now would be premature and may jeopardise the evidence trails.

Commenting on the missing names in the audit report presented to parliament, President Banda said she was also “eager” to know the suspects.

“I also need to know the names,” said Banda.

She said the nation deserves to know “what happened with K92 billion” looted in 2010 and ofcourse the K13 billion under her watch.

“We are all eager to know the names,” said President Banda.

In the cashgate report, the auditors describes the scale of the theft and how it operated. Drawing on a sample of 501 suspicious transactions between April and September 2013, the auditors found that around 6.1 billion kwacha ($14.5m) had been paid out to 16 companies for services that had not been supplied.

Payments with no further documents accounted for a further 4 billion kwacha. The bean-counters also found that supply contracts had been inflated by 3.6 billion kwacha. All told, the state was defrauded of around $32m, almost 1% of Malawi’s annual GDP, in just six months.

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