Malawi government has been advised to ensure that there are regular and timely audit in all its departments as required by the Public Audit Act and that National Audit Office (NAO) should be independent.
The advise is contained in an editorial comment of The Nation daily newspaper on Wednesday Novemebr 30, 2016.
The daily comments on a report it carried that the NAO has deployed about 30 auditors to 10 of Malawi’s 19 foreign missions following allegations of fraud and maladministration of finances in embassies.
It noted that the laxity in checking the adhereance to system in the management of public funds has coust the country dearly, citing Cashgate, the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill – the seat of government – as a big lesson learnt of financial melfeaces.
“To ensure prudence and regular audits, we plead for the independence of National Audit Office (NAO), Such independence should include its financing model that should be protected by law to ensure that no sitting government deliberately suffocates the organisation by denying it funding to undertake its oversight role in tracking public funds and ensuring that systems are adhered to,” reads the editorial comment.
The paper also faults Central Internal Audit in the Ministry of Finance which is supposed to act as an internal auditor for the government ministries, departments and agencies, saying the unit has been “reactionary.”
“We put it that if the internal audit function was strongm surely, Cashgate could have been avoided as the same loopholes could have been identified earlier and acted upon,” the comment reads.
Meanwhile, the paper’s lead story quotes NAO spokesperson Rabson Kagwamminga saying they will be carrying out normal audits in 10 different foreign missions of the Republic of Malawi.
“ Ten different teams comprising a maximum of three and a minimum of two auditors have been formulated,” he said.
Kagwamminga disclosed that “depending on the outcome of each stage of the work on the ground, further investigative audit procedures may become inevitable; hence, the possibilities of going beyond the planned timeframe.”
The audits are already underway at embassies in China, Egypt, United Arab Emirates of Dubai and Tanzania.
Currently, Malawi has its foreign missions in United States of America, United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia and African Union Commission, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, United Nations in New York, Zambia and Zimbabwe.