An audit report in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation reveals that the country lost million of kwacha in public resources through Malawi diplomatic missions abroad.
The audit was conducted by National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that about K444 million was paid into personal accounts with intent to defraud the public funds.
Acting Auditor General Thomas Makiwa said in his report that the ministry failed to abide by the Public Finance Management Act in several ways.
According to the audit report, Malawi High Commission in London has wasteful expenditure on the rehabilitation of the official residence up to K2.6 million.
There was also cash withdraw from State Residences of about £58 0000 but not accounted for.
Another anomaly revealed by the audit is the engagement of a gardener at Kwacha House in London without contract amounting to K615 973.57.
In Belgium and the European Union which is headed by Ted Kalebe, it was revealed payments charged to wrong account at K7.2 million.
Auditors also found failure by the mission to substantiate loan over deduction K456 5999.88
Among other irregularities, is the abuse of scholarship facility for about K275 662.50
The audit also revealed remittance without a corresponding deposit of K18.6 million and self –authorisation of allowances at K12.6 million.
In Berlin, Germany, the audit reveals difference in funding figures from Treasury and actual funding received of about K34774.99.
There was also a K30 million Embassy funds used for unbudgeted activities.
There were misallocations of funds amounting to K18.7 million at Malawi mission in Beijing, China and funds borrowed from deposit account not refunded amounting to K18 million.
Other irregularities were noted in Tokyo, Japan where Malawi embassy had non-remittance of visa funds from South Korea of K26.4 million and use of K5.9 million immigration revenue without authority.
In Cairo, Egypt, the Malawi mission had misallocations of funds amounting to K19.3 million.
There wasa also a loan repayment to Ambassadors’ forum on behalf of former ambassador at K4.4 million.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lilongwe, the audit identified unverified external travel allowances amounting to K165 million, expenditure in cancelled air tickets amounting to K16.6 million, payment of external travel allowances on a fully-funded trip at K7.6 million, external travel allowances paid for a trip not undertaken by the from Principal Secretary in the ministry at K301 370.04 and uncounted fuel of K29million.
The Auditor General has since recommended the need to strengthen audit committee on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to facilitate speedy responses to audit reports.
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali is on record to have observed that the absence of a clear comprehensive policy and legal framework regulating recruitment in the foreign service has contributed in making foreign service as one of the messed up areas of public service hence the continued chaos.
“It is interesting to note that despite having one of its key strategic objectives of fulfilling its mandate in public service being to establish a career diplomatic service that will entail placement in the foreign service of high calibre personnel with capability to facilitate and coordinate economic activities in the best interest of the nation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have done very little in translating this objective into action,” he told Nyasa Times recently.
He pointed out that the Foreign Service has often been used as a rewarding platform for political cronies and relatives of the government of the day.
“ In some cases, it has been used as an appeasement tool to silence some critics of government whose children or daughters have been recruited in the Foreign Service,” said Munthali
He also said there is a perception that for one to find him or herself in foreign service he or she must be ethnically or politically connected to the regime of the day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :