“Be a Rowland Ngosi,” – Chilima’s tells Malawi Accountants

Malawi’s flamboyant and hands-on-deck Vice President and an erstwhile corporate world connoisseur Saulos Chilima on Friday gave the Accountants something they will never forget as professionals in their quest to be the best.

Chilima told the Accountants a story of a dedicated professional civil servant ‘s loyalty and ultimate sacrifice to public service.

Here is a story of inspiration to inspire Accountants who aspire for greatness.

Chilima receiving a gift from ICAM chairperson Phyles

The story of bravery and dignity of a civil servant extraordinaire, Rowland Ngosi, a dignified upright accountant, who was among the seven survivors after a boat they were traveling in from Nkhatabay to Karonga sank in July 1946, but managed to deliver salaries he was carrying for civil servants in Karonga, Rumphi and Chitipa – excited and challenged Accountants at the ICAM conference in Mangochi yesterday.

If Rowland Ngosi was someone else, the result would have been different. But because he was different, a different result came out that inspite of all what happened, he still remained loyal to his professional ethics and to one of God’s commandment, thou shall not steal.

But at that time, with all what happened, it was easy for Ngosi to steal the salaries, with just one excuse; “I lost the money in the water.”

Everyone would have believed him without an iota of doubt and he could have taken the money.

Group photo: Chilima taking a picture with ICAM leadership team.

But, he didn’t, not because he couldn’t. He didn’t because it wasn’t in his traits to steal.

Ngosi did not steal the money not because he didn’t need the money, but because he was a man of integrity and he knew that a lot of people out there would suffer if he stole the money by taking advantage of the unfortunate situation.

Delivering the story with an emotional human touch, Chilima told the Accountants that every time they were tempted to steal – they must ask themselves what would have Rowland Ngosi done?

The story goes that one ordinary morning in July of 1946, Ngosi set off from Mzuzu to Nkhatabay to board the Viphya, while carrying a bag full of salaries for civil servants in Rumphi, Karonga and Chitipa.

But, as fate would have it, while approaching what is now called Chitimba – the boat carrying 145 people – sank.

On that day, in that moment and in that tragic incident, only seven survived including Mr. Ngosi who swam across with the bag and money intact.

“That year, each and every civil servant in those three districts were paid their salaries, and, this is what is called integrity,” said Chilima.

As soon as Chilima said; “I am not sure what would have happened if this was today,” everyone in the room went into stitches and started shaking their heads concluding that the salaries wouldn’t have been delivered.

Chilima said: “Please be the Rowland Ngosi of your time and always ask what would have Rowland Ngosi done in this situation?”

The Vice President said, moving foward, ICAM should consider naming one of its conferences from the great Rowland Ngosi, who only got a promotion for what he had done.

Speaking about the conference, Chilima said if Malawi is to remain steady on her road to development and implementation of the MW2063 development blue print, the country needs Accountants who are gatekeepers of resources and not conduits of fraud and corruption.

Chilima made the remarks on Thursday in Mangochi when he delivered an opening statement at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) conference.

“If Accountants are not the forefront safeguarding our economy, then who will?
Procrastination is the thief of time.

“Rise and defend the noble profession today,
and not tomorrow. Be a Rowland Ngosi,” Chilima said.

ICAM is the only professional accountancy organization in Malawi and for all individuals practicing accountancy in the country are demanded to join the institute.

The institute was established in 2013 under the Public Accountants and Auditors Act (PAA) Act No 5 of 2013, which repealed the PAA 1982.

ICAM was created through a merger of the Public Accountants Examination Council of Malawi and the Society of Chartered Accountants of Malawi, the preceding accountancy organization to ICAM.

The organisation strives to maintain the highest professional standards in accountancy, through the education and training of its members to serve the business community, the government and the nation at large.

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