Development economist weighs in on MEC account: ‘No wonder Malawi has title of being world’s poorest nation’

A development economist has said the clarification from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), the Accountant General and FDH Bank, on the electoral body having a bank account named after the title of its controlling officer, the chief elections officer (CEO), is left wanting.

Mandala: It is procedural to pay to chief elections officer account which is a duly authorised operating account for MEC

Chris Chaima Banda, a vevelopment economist and long serving British civil service technocrat, told Nyasa Times that explanations from  MEC, Accountant General and FDH Bank,   following reports that government transferred K4 billion into MEC CEO account on the eve of the May 21 Tripartite Elections,  were not adding up.

FDH Bank in a statement seen by Nyasa Times, explained that the account was inherited from the then wholly government owned Malawi Savings Bank which FDH Financial Holdings Limited purchased in 2015.

The bank said the account was valid and met all required legal requirements for operation.

And Accountant General Sungani Mandala said besides MEC, other government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) also have bank accounts in the names of the offices of their respective controlling officers such as principal secretaries (PSs), district commissioners (DCs) and chief executive officers who are also co-signatories.

But Chaima Banda retorted: “So if it is OK to have this account so called Chief Elections Officer.  So are you telling me that each parastatal CEO has accounts in their job titles. So tomorrow all Principal Secretaries and the Chief Secretary should rush to the bank and open Principal Secretary current accounts?

“So where is the President account, where is the Chief Justice account, where is the Speaker account? Malawi is the most humbled nation on earth.”

He continued: “No wonder we have an honourable title of being the poorest nation on earth. That tag is a curse, poverty cripples the mind much more than any other part of the body. “

Chaima Banda said there is need to fight “ the war against the tribal cartel of thieves.”

MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa  in a separate statement said  the electoral body CEO, as an officer defined in the Public Finance Management Act, is the controlling officer; hence, all the funds and resources are under his control.

Reads the statement in part: “The operational procedure is that all government funding goes into the MEC Ifmis [Integrated Financial Management and Information System] account domiciled at the Southern Region Treasury Cashier.

“For money to be transferred into the Chief Elections Officer account at FDH Bank, MEC writes the Accountant General for authorisation, justifying the amount and also the purpose and the Accountant General gives a ‘No objection’ when he is satisfied with the reasons provided.”

The statement said the K4 billion in question was duly authorised by the Accountant General.

“In March 2019, the Treasury also transferred K8.5 billion. These amounts were meant to facilitate payment of printing of ballot papers and other bills for electoral activities, and allowances for security officers, polling staff and other service providers during the polling exercise,” reads the statement.

But an economic governance expert Dr. Felix Lombe also faulted the opening of  a parallel bank account defying government’s financial management system.

Lombe, who is African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (Aicc) chief executive office , described it as “a serious breach.”

Meawwhile, Malawi Congress Party secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka  has said the account “must be investigated”, according to Section 20 of the Financial Crimes Act of 2016.

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YOSWA
YOSWA
1 year ago

This is a clear issue where govt authorised departments to open accounts with banks of their choice for other transactions. It has been there for years but now it has come to light because of the elections issue and suspicions of bribes to election staff. However, these accounts to say the truth, they are prone to abuse by controlling officers. all they can do is to limit the amounts deposited into these accounts and not in billions coz departments should not be transacting in such huge amounts like accountant generals office.Those who formulated these accounting regu;ations might either haad good… Read more »

TOSH
1 year ago

IMENEYI NDI NJIRA YOFUNA KUBERA NDALAMA CREATING STUPID UNKNOWN ACCOUNTS

President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza
President Mkango Lion Manthakanjenjemereza
1 year ago

Mandala is not even in diplomate accountant category, Non practising or practising categories, so he is a tabula rasa in accountancy, but rather an administrator.

Maria
Maria
1 year ago

Hehehehehe zukuwawani? Sungani Mandala whether qualified or not in your view, he will be the Accountant General and he has risen very fast, kkkkkkkkkk, congrats PS.

Gerald
Gerald
1 year ago

Our Malawi is a failed state. With the way we are choosing our leadership it will take generations before we start developing. Thieves are left to roam in the state institutions accounts. Tribal demagogues are left to act in their tribal interests, we still have along way to go until we institute hard rules by constitutionaly reducing their powers

Tozer Tsono
Tozer Tsono
1 year ago

The opposition erred by asking for access to MEC staffers’ bank accounts. The opposition should ask for access to bank accounts of MEC staffers without their names, for the sole purpose of ascertaining unexplained cash flows. Also worth noting is the verification of transanctions for foreign trips. Who paid for the transactions abroad in the form of a house that could be rented, or a fake business undertaking reqiring remittance of funds earmarked for MEC staffers but using a front to complete the deal. Or they claim expenses for trumped up business deals abroad. Employees of Parastatal organisations and government… Read more »

Mlakaviwa
Mlakaviwa
1 year ago

When I see poor souls in Thyolo I cry and even in Chiradzulu I cry

bentby smart
1 year ago

rwanda is developing while watching, so is tanzania. but malawi all we do is clamping hands for thieves. change doesn’t come automatic. change is a product of action. lets fight these thieves. if not now then when? if not us then who else will do it for us.

Wa Dallo
1 year ago

I hope they still have some change in the account. I need some money for my roofing grass.

Phingo Walusa
Phingo Walusa
1 year ago

“War against tribal cartel of thieves” I do not know how many malawians understand this? Thanks Mr. Chaima Banda for trying to explain what Malawi, malawi leadership and the citizenry are. To malawians of good will, this war is very necessary. The coalition of thieves and killers has done everything to keep malawians snowing. Any spirit that tries to open up the eyes is trumped to the earth. The account issue is just a tip. Just like anything else, tribal connections! We need some to lead this war, that is the only way out, these thieves and killers must go!… Read more »

Nanyonyo
Nanyonyo
1 year ago
Reply to  Phingo Walusa

As long as the account in question is not abused, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that arrangement. It seems evident from the tone of this so called British Civil Servant or economic development that he is one of those folks standing on the losers queue. The president cannot have an account in the first place neither can the Chief Justice…..what happened to the concept of fiduciary position? the law does not disregard legitimate transactions and procedures.

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