JB gives Auditor General more power

President Joyce Banda has given more powers to the National Audit Office in its quest to become independent by elevating the post of its Auditor General equal to that of Deputy Chief Secretary, Office of the President and Cabinet officials have confirmed.

Reckford  Kampanje, the Auditor General has his post upgraded to “B” in Civil Service grading which is equal to the Deputy Chief Secretary.

The move has breathed a new lease of life in the Supreme Audit Institution’s quest to devolve and become quasi-independent meaning that once the process is completed the Auditor General and NAO will work independently.

Kampanje: Auditor General

“At first the Auditor General was graded just like any other Principal Secretary (PS) but after the Office of the President and Cabinet looked at the recommendations in the NAO’s Institutional Review Report where models were learnt from other SAI’s within the region, the President said the post should be upgraded,” said the OPC official.

The OPC official said Kampanje has already signed a contract on the new upgraded post meaning his level and grading has since been upgraded.

With this upgrade, the Auditor General can now move on to expedite the reforms at the National Audit Office by setting up the institutions Appointments and Disciplinary Committee which will hire staff as opposed to the current centralised process where the Civil Service Commission do advertise, interview and hire staff for all government departments.

“National Audit will have its own conditions of service and with legal amendments the Institution will report directly to Parliament, have its own budget protected from ceilings approved by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and given to Minister of Finance to incorporate in the National Budget,” said the OPC official.

Kampanje could not be reached for comment as he was reported to be out of the country on duty.

NAO’s Corporate Communications Officer Thomas Chafunya confirmed the development saying it was a clear sign of commitment from the President’s office and government to see that NAO continues the process of becoming more effective and efficient.

“It is personal good news to Mr. Kampanje but also a step forward for NAO in its reforms of being independent Supreme Audit Institution,” Chafunya  told Nyasa Times.

“ It is also good development for the country and its cooperating partners as this signifies that government is serious in issues of transparency and accountability which build up to good governance as enshrined in the MGDS,” said Chafunya.

National Audit Office has recently been in the news as having made some impact in checking the books of government and organisations that receive taxpayers’ money.

Despite high charisma to become effective and efficient, the institution has suffered major setback of being underfunded by government which almost rendered the office of the Auditor General as show spectators.

Just two weeks ago several teams of auditors from NAO were dispatched to audit Malawi embassies in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania for the first time in 10 years funded by the Malawi Government.

With the assistance from the Department for International Development (DFID) the National Audit Office conducted audits of the accounts of all city, town and district assemblies in Malawi starting from when decentralisation took place and years covered were from 2005 to 2010.

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