Baker Tilly issues Malawi ‘Cashgate’ report: ‘No external influence’

Global accounting firm network Baker Tilly International says the forensic audit report outlining how public resources were plundered between April and September 2013 has said draft report was issued to the Auditor General on 14 February 2014.

The London-based accountancy firm said they were now working on additional comments and evidence which the Auditor General had previously requested.

“In line with our agreed terms of reference to issue a report relating to the ‘Cashgate’ scandal in Malawi, we can confirm the draft report was issued to the Auditor General on 14 February 2014,” said Mark Sullivan, Baker Tilly’s Director, International Development Services in a statement emailed to Nyasa Times on Thursday.

“On Monday 17 February 2014 the team working on this assignment were provided with additional comments and evidence which they had previously requested. Having received that evidence the team now considers it necessary to examine that information in further detail,” he added.

Baker Tilly’s Director also assured that the report will not be externally influenced.

“We should stress that our report has not and will not be externally influenced,” he said.

Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira also allayed fears that government officials and politicians involved in the scam would doctor the report because the British Government, which funded the process would also release the report in future.

“It should be understood that the British Government is responsible for sponsoring the forensic audit report and as such before the findings are released to the Malawi Government it shall first be submitted to the British Government and later copied to the Government of Malawi,” explained Mpinganjira.

According to Mpinganjira, no government official apart from the Auditor General has seen the forensic report including President Joyce Banda.

Last Friday the British High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, released a statement saying that they had been informed by government about the delay.

“We have noted some comments raising concerns about the credibility of the forensic audit report because it has not been made public…While a draft is complete, there are certain finalizing procedures that the auditors need to go through as standard practice,” he said in a statement.

Additionally, the UK envoy said, as an extra surety, the British Government will also receive copies direct from the auditors. “The focus should then be on the necessary actions that the authorities will need to take in response to the report.”

British High Commissioner in Lilongwe, Michael Nevin: Standard practice
British High Commissioner in Lilongwe, Michael Nevin: Standard practice

The cashgate scandal erupted when police began investigating the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, for what is believed to be his attempt to curb corruption in government.

More than 60 people, including government officials, civil servants and business persons, were arrested and charged with various offenses.

International donors froze aid payments to Malawi in November and they are expected to decide early next month whether to resume funding for Malawi.

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