Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposition in parliament, Lazarus Chakwera has said the dubious sale of Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and the PricewaterHouse Coopers report which indicated that K577 billion cannot be accounted for in the national treasury, has proved that the Peter Mutharika’s DPP government “cannot be trusted.”
Chakwera said the way government handled the audit into payments amounting to K577 billion (US$1.3 billion) that are shown in bank statements, but cannot be traced in Capital Hill’s cashbook, proved the DPP is a midnight-government of crookedly.
He said the PwC examination of public finances from January 1 2009 to December 31 2014 – initially assumed to be the ‘K92 billion (US$204.4 million) – which found crime liaisons that officials have used since 2005, called Integrated Finance Management Information System (IFIMS) was not a forensic audit report.
The data analysis that has culminated into a 52-page report titled ‘Final Analysis Report: Reconstruction of the Malawi Government Cashbook for Purposes of Further Investigation’ has shown K577 billion (US$1.3 billion) were abused.
“It was a data analysis of the K92 billion ($204.4 million) audit query which then showed that there is K577 billion ($1.3 million) necessitating forensic audit. When that audit report comes out, Parliament will debate and take necessary action.
“So, the presentation of an audit data analysis as an audit report is a misrepresentation. If anything, that data analysis report only confirms that this government cannot be trusted,” said Chakwera in an interview with the local press.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said the forensic audit could take as long as 10 months.
PwC continued from where British auditor Baker Tilly, who uncovered traces of cashgate, left.
‘Cashgate’ denotes the systematic skimming of millions of dollars of money from the government payment system.
Following the Cashgate revelations, donors withdrew aid and Malawi has been operating on a zero-aid budget, a situation that has caused misery to Malawians economically.
Chakwera also accused President Mutharika for playing another crookedly role in the sale of the MSB to FDH Bank of Thom Mpinganjira.
“One of the reasons that saddened me was how the MSB saga unfolded. It had been my hope that the President would not only listen to the peoples’ representatives on the issue, but would also incorporate their views in his decision. But it was evident that my hopes were ill-placed. What happened is a reflection of our nation’s vicious cycle of unaccountable leaders who only pay lip-service to servant leadership,” said Chakwera.
The MCP president pointed out that it was clear from the report of the Budget and Finance Committee that Parliament was not against the sale of MSB, but questioned the manner, motive and methodology of the said sale.
“Several recommendations were made in order that issues of transparency and accountability would be really addressed,” he said.
The opposition leader said while the peoples’ representatives understood the reasons given for the transaction, they were surprised at the “President’s tokenism,” first in feigning suspension of the sale while at the same time technocrats were finalising the same immediately Parliament passed the budget.
“This seriously puts into question issues of governance in this nation because it is public knowledge that the bank was deliberately run down by [DPP] party functionaries so that in the end it would be sold for a song.
“So while it may seem legit that government should not be running such businesses as a bank, why is the same government talking about establishing a development bank? This government needs to know that there is no place to hide, it has an expiry date, and Malawians cannot always be taken for a ride,” he said.
Chakwera has also urged Mutharika administration to translate reforms rhetoric into action, saying if not fully followed Malawians will be disappointed with the fact that” instead of experiencing the transformation we are looking for, we will continue to be deformed as a nation.”
The MCP president is on record to have described President Mutharika as a hypocrite, saying his government is run by “distractions and deceptions, not leadership.”
Chakwera accused Mutharika of taking a “blind eye” of are so many critical issues facing Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :