Cashgate forensic audit report ready Feb. 14

Malawi government has indicated that a report of the preliminary forensic audit into the loss of billions of taxpayers’ money at Capital Hill will be ready by February 14 and will be publicised.

Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira alongside Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa and team leader of international forensic auditors Mark Sullivan told journalists in the capital Lilongwe on Wednesday  a day after Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said Malawians have a right to know the contents of the report.

The two civil society organisations (CSOs) said the impression citizens out there have regarding government’s conduct on the forensic report sent to IMF is that full of suspicion and anger against it.

Mpinganjira, Auditor General Kamphasa at the news conference
Mpinganjira, Auditor General Kamphasa at the news conference

Mpinganjira said the audit team from the National Audit Office (NAO) was given a deadline of January 31 to complete and release the report but the delay has been caused by legal processes some banks required before they could release information.

“Since we have to be more transparent, I have to mention the two banks are Nedbank and First Merchant Bank. They could not release the information untuil legal processes were fulfilled,” he said.

He also said the delay in releasing the report has been caused by lack of cooperation from estate agents and private property valuers.

Mpinganjira said government will release the report, which covers how millions were lost between April and September 2013,  to the public when its finalised.

“We will not delay. As soon as it if presented to government, we will publicise it,” he assured.

The Auditor General Kamphasa stressed that they  will have to follow the legal procedures.

“The owner of the report would pass over the report to the relevant authorities including Parliament who would make it public,” he said.

This preliminary forensic audit covers five months and has been funded by Britain while the comprehensive audit covering 2005 to March 2013 would be done with funding from Germany.

There have been calls for immediate convening of Parliament to enable the House to debate the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) findings of cashgate following its fulfilment of the assignments.

Cashgate scandal has affected the country’s relations with donors and caused outrage among Malawians.

Allegations of the massive looting of government money became public following the shooting of the finance ministry’s then budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September 2013.

Just days before, a junior civil servant was allegedly found with bales of cash totalling more than $300,000 in the boot of his car.

Former justice minister Raphael Kasambara is facing conspiracy charges in the shooting of Mphwiyo and about 98 people are facing charges related to cashgate.

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