The Institute of Internal Auditors Malawi (IIAM), a professional body established to promote and advance the internal audit profession in Malawi has said the recent developments relating to fraud and corruption taking place at Capitol Hill in Lilongwe are counterproductive as they deter economic development.
IIAM has since recommended that internal audit departments in government ministries and departments should be reporting to internal audit committees comprising members who are not serving as civil servants to enhance independence and objective reporting.
“All positions that require professional officers should be filled by people that have the relevant professional qualification in good standing with their professional bodies.
“Institutions should ensure that their professional staff undergo continuous professional development to ensure that staff are up to date with changes in their profession,” said IIAM President, Andy Chitete.
Chitete also said there is need to strengthen various professional bodies such as the IIAM by putting in place legal and regulatory framework that would protect members if they are victimized and allow disciplining of the members if there are any violations to the ethical code of conduct and professional standards.
“Institutions should ensure that internal audit staff are trained in new systems when they are introduced before they are implemented to equip them with competency to audit the systems.
“Internal audit departments should be supported to comply with the international internal auditing standards to undergo external quality assurance assessments at least once every five years as this helps to ensure that their work is line with professional standards,” said Chitete.
He however said IIAM recognizes and commends the efforts that government has been taking by ensuring that the independence of the Director of the Central Internal Audit Unit (CIAU) is strengthened by requiring him to report directly to the Chief Secretary.
“The internal audit profession believes that good corporate governance is key to prevention of fraud and corruption. There four pillars of corporate governance namely; the Board, Senior Management, Internal Auditors and External Auditors.
“In this regard, it is important to strengthen all these pillars of corporate governance by ensuring that there is adherence to professional standards and competent and qualified people are hire in positions,” stressed Chitete.