K650m plunder in Malawi embassies, visa fees abused: PAC ask govt to discipline errant diplomats

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament  has said all Malawi’s foreign missions has been abusing  visa fees and all audited embassies  failed to account for them,  therefore   the committee has asked the new Tonse Alliance led government  to act on errant diplomats.

Namalomba:  Embassies need functional review and career diplomats

In a report of PAC’s scrutiny of the Auditor General’s reports of 2017 and 2018 presented in Parliament on Wednesday, committee chairperson Shadreck Namalomba indicated that over K650 million was abused during the period under review when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was governing the country.

“In Tanzania the whole visa fees went missing, vanishing in thin air. In South Africa a total of K31 million in respect of visa fees was never remitted [to Malawi].

“In Egypt K23 million was collected in respect of visa fee but was not accounted for. K158 million in India and K26 million in Japan were not properly accounted,” said Namalomba a DPP legislator for Mangochi South East.

He said abuses were also spotted in Malawi’s foreign mission such as Belgium where there was a self-authorisation of allowances to the tune of K12 million as well as a remittance of K18 million without corresponding deposit.

At the Malawi Embassy in Ethiopia, according to the audit report, an unspecified amount of funds was channelled into personal account.

Other abuses were recorded in Malawi’s missions in Germany and United Kingdom.

In UK, Namalomba citing the audit report revealed that an equivalent of K58 million purportedly meant for Kamuzu Palace – the official residence of the President in Lilongwe – was injected in the allocation of Malawi High Commission in London. Kamuzu Palace, like the other State Residences, is ably funded through the State Residences budget vote.

The money was withdrawn in London but was not accounted for.

“Mr First Deputy Speaker, Is this the country that we want?” said Namalomba expressing disappointment and therefore appealed to new administration to act on errant diplomats.

Namalomba bemoaned what he called “extensive abuse” at Malawi’s foreign mission, saying it appears there us a well coordinated syndicate siphoning public funds through the embassies.

“How can the whole government machinery fail to have proper mechanism of remitting for visa remittances,” he said in frustration as First Deputy Speaker asked backbenchers to give Namalomba water to cool him off.

Chairperson of the backbenchers, DPP’s vocal legislator Victor Musowa volunteered to give Namalomba a bottle of water as he continued to present the report.

Namalomba observed that foreign missions has become a fertile ground for financial malfeasance largely because the appointment of officers was based on political patronage and nepotism.

“We have infested our embassies with a malaise of incompetence by sending in these embassies our sons and daughters, our wives and husbands, our cousins and nieces,” he said in reference to what the DPP and immediate past president Peter Mutharika was doing.

“The new government should not make these mistakes,” he appealed.

Namalomba advised the new administration to ensure that recruitment if officers in foreign missions should be based on career diplomats and civil servants sent to foreign missions.

“Otherwise, the more we send politically-connected individuals, the more we allow fraud to continue,” he said.

PAC has since asked government to conduct functional review of the country’s foreign missions to have an appropriate organisation structure as well as tabling of the Foreign Services Bill to sanitise Foreign Service.

Reads the report: “Government should recall and sanction all diplomats who authorised the expenditures from visa accounts without seeking prior authority. This includes diplomats that authorised ineligible payments of rent, utilities and school fees, among others, contrary to standing regulations on conditions of service in foreign missions.”

Currently, Malawi has embassies in Brazil, United Kingdom, China, Egypt, Ethiopia (including African Union Commission), Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, United Nations, United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
6 months ago

Ben Botolo amangoti e ma embassy report ya ndalama zobedwa now and again
ma ambassodor since nthawi ya muluziu mpaka lelo . and ndalama zikubedwea kubedwaso . nthaw .bwanji ko.
ku UK sayankha fone nthawi zose inbox yodzaza akuti.
abale athu kulephera kubweea kumudzi kuno kulephera kukoza mapepala oyendera. pompous people. ma happy ati amamgoitanilana ma phwando kwinakuso azibambo ndi ma slay queen so.
ehhhh

Chimwene wa Anabanda ku Joni
Chimwene wa Anabanda ku Joni
6 months ago

Aaaa Malawi govt!! . Are you sure you don’t know this? Kikikiki you must be joking. This is the norm that is why those who take over these offices never report anomalies they find because it’s a continuiation of the looting. The quality of people that run these offices is shocking. Most of these missions do not have toilet paper in their public toilets. Some can’t even communicate yet hold senior positions. Most are lazy don’t answer their phones. Why are you surprised? We know no one will be accountable. No one will go to jail. Those offices will remain… Read more »

Chi
Chi
6 months ago

Mr Chilima I am Still waiting for your promise. A kuba onse akalowe. Up to now there is no movement… Please do not disappoint us

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
6 months ago

So after this report what happens to the malawian money thru this corruption???? please

China
China
6 months ago

Koma guys tikawelengetsa ndalama zabedwa ndi a boma la Dpp bwezi Malawi ili ngati Singapore. Remove all of them azibwelako onse Ali ndi ka mtima ka Dpp kokuba basi

Barristers United
Barristers United
6 months ago

So many audits BUT NEVER any arrests or recovery of money or accountability. Malawi will never succeed when a few thefts continue to rob from the masses. Yet a poor man steals a goat he is immediately charged and within days in a court trial and sentenced to 4 or more years in prison. When these corrupt managers and accountants they should be arrested their homes and assets confiscated. Only a few have signing authority to withdraw money.

John D
John D
6 months ago

You people are all talk but can’t do Jack. If indeed these guys have stolen arrest and charge them accordingly because it’s tax payers money. Since July you’ve been saying money was stolen yet you are failing to arrest and charge the stealing bastards. My conclusion is twofold. Either you are lying or somehow you were involved in the corruption. All you politicians know is to lie to the citizenry. When A PM came Malawians were hopeful that he would charge and arrest the main cashgaters but they didn’t. most likely because they were no better. This thing cannot and… Read more »

Benjones
Benjones
6 months ago

Indeed this is very shameful. DPP should answer and account for this. The children who are enjoying out hard earned tax money should be returned immediately. We want accountability and not just stories which die like the cement gate and 67 illegal immigrants from Salima and other stories making head lines.

The Knight Templar
The Knight Templar
6 months ago

The Tonse government, if you want to fire the embassy people, just fire them. Please don’t hide behind corruption this and that. We know you want to replace them for political reasons and that’s understandable. That’s the culture here but every time you are doing this first mukumawapezera zifukwa wherhtt proven in court or not. Please spare us all the drama just replace them if you want. Period

The Sniper.
The Sniper.
6 months ago

But it’s like what am reading is coming from a DPP member of parliament, so what are you trying to say? By the way are you not ashamed with this stealing thing und r your DPP? Iwe ndi Gwape eti?

Peter Jere
Peter Jere
6 months ago

A real mess. What happened to the former Police lady who was recalled from Ethiopia? She was never charged.

William Chirwa
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Jere

She will never be charged because a certain man who was also recalled is today too powerful to be touched even all of us won’t be happy if he was to be charged. Check these facts its no joke the guy is too powerful than when he was recalled

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