Malawi Network of Religious Leaders living with or Personally Affected by HIV and Aids (Manerela+) has been hit by uncharacteristic fraud case involving over K8 million.
Nyasa Times established that the donors have been suspecting “financial irregularities” on the funds they have been pumping into the organisation in order for them to implement programs which are aimed to scale down transmission of HIV and Aids.
Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), a major donor for the NGO commissioned a forensic audit to ascertain some expenditure that has been taking place at the institution and auditors KPMG conducted the audit which revealed that indeed K8 million went unaccounted.
The auditors revealed certain irregularities that included some unauthorised and unaccounted-for transactions and NCA is demanding a full refund of its money if Manerela+ is ever to be considered for the NCA direct funding again. .
“It’s NCA’s policy that when such a malpractice is discovered the organization must refund the money and ensure that right processes including prosecution of the individuals involved in such malpractices has taken place,” Nyasa Times source at NCA said.
The source further reported that the main culprits in this were the officer responsible for the Project, finance directors, Programme Managers and officers.
The audit report fingers out things like the procurement of fuel, airtime and allowances for workshop participants which were not ably accounted for or in some cases dates on the receipts could not match with the dates the activities were carried out.
For example the receipts or signatures could indicate 5 June while the actual event took place in May.
Meanwhile in an attempt to exonerate itself from the tough situation facing the organization, two board members; Rev. Anderson Mataka and Vincent Mpaluko (currently answering charges of theft by a public servant alongside Mr. Friday Jumbe and Phillip Bwanali) have since taken it upon themselves to jump a clear service procurement system laid out in the policies of the organization to procure the services of Nankhuni and Co law firm.
Nyasa Times understands that MANERELA+ has a legal representation contract with Chagwanjira &Co but Mpaluko has influenced the engagement of lawyer Nankhuni as they also represent him in his ongoing charges against the state.
When contacted MANERELA+ Executive Director who is also an official spokesperson of the organisation, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka confirmed the fraud issue.
“Currently the matters are under investigation,” said Sembereka.
“We did ask NCA to restart the audit as some things were not as clear on the matter,” he added.
Board of MANERELA led by Rev. Mataka of Assemblies of God has since fired Sembereka.
Sembereka sought a court injunction last week Monday. In a dramatic turn of events, on Wednesday, Lilongwe High Court threw out the injunction and the presiding judge referred the matter to industrial court.
MANERELA+ is among the current applicants of the Global Fund currently managed by Action Aid.
In its recent call for applications among the conditions stated in the call was that organisations must not be embroiled in any legal battles.
This could jeopardise the chances of MANERELA+ getting funded under the grant.
NCA country representative Stein Villumstad is on record saying said since his organisation started its work in Malawi in 2002, it has encountered “some few cases of mismanagement of funds” among some of its local development partners.
But he stressed that NCA always takes strict corrective steps to prevent these financial and administrative irregularities by promoting transparency, monitoring and evaluation, high professional standards and capacity building at both corporate and individual levels.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :