Chaos erupt over US$28 000 at Malawi’s SADC meet

Business nearly came to a halt at the SADC Council of Senior officials currently underway in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, after delegates strongly opposed the financial statement provided to them by the SADC Secretariat’s finance office.

Bone of contention was how the secretariat used the US$28 000 reserved money after the end of the 2011/12 financial year as it was not indicated in the presented financial statement.

Delegates argued that in 2012, the SADC finance department communicated to all member states that having balanced all cash inflow and expenditures, the secretariat had a balance of US$ 28,000 as reserve.

But in its statement provided to them at the ongoing meeting in Lilongwe, the secretariat office changed its tune claiming the said reserve money was not inform of cash but assets that also depreciated with time.

Mkondiwa (left) curtailed the discussions
Mkondiwa (left) curtailed the discussions

The statement did not amuse representatives of all the member states who demanded a clear explanation on the matter.

Confusion erupted in the meeting as staff from the SADC Secretariat led by the Director of Finance, virtually failed to convince the members of the council with their explanation.

Things got worse when the SADC Secretariat also failed to provide a copy of how the resources were used as endorsed by the institution’s external auditors.

The members were demanding a well stated statement indicating expenditures and balances as well as a clear explanation on what reserves depreciation meant.

“We are demanding a clear statement that will make all the delegates accept and appreciate how the finances at the Secretariat were handled in the said financial year.

“We do not agree with the statement provided, we don’t think we can be meeting here thinking we have reserves in form of money yet it is in form of assets that we are told are depreciating,” one of the delegates, Mauritius’ Director of Regional Integration Moonisar Phookeer said.

However, peace returned after Chairperson of the Council, Malawi’s George Mkondiwa, curtailed the argument to allow the finance office to prepare a well explained document that would clarify on how the US$28,000 reserve was used.

Mkondiwa, then promised the delegates he would ensure that the finance office comes up with a detailed report, as demanded by the members, to be debated at a later stage.

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