Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chief executive officer Willie Kalonga operated a secret account at Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) which was used for suspected cashgate activities, according to a special investigative audit conducted following allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud.
The fraud allegations in the report before the Secretary to the Treasury and donor community, shows Kalonga had access to K118, 667,404.44 and made internal transfers between April 2014 to February 2015 not indicated with accounts transferred to in cashbooks.
A special secret code named CEO Account at MSB opened in March 2014 number 1024883104001 was overdrawn by K8, 093,858.33 on 31/12/2014 in the bank while many transacts were not entered in the cashbook which was overdrawn by K33,819,387.69.
The abuse on the account cost the public K20, 634,732.20 in accumulated bank charges and interest which were also missing in the cashbook.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, was a recipient of the mysterious cash transfers which the management of the electoral body failed to produce documentation detailing purpose of payment.
Kalonga’s account received K37, 191,268.37 of the transfers between 14/07/2014 to 08/10/2014 with no proper accounting records and payments, the audit report reads.
“We have noted the observation and promise to make a thorough follow up to trace the documents to account for the transferred funds. We believe that weakness in recording and keeping of records might have caused the event,” MEC management defended their position when they responded to the audit query.
MEC further blamed newly recruited staff in accounts who did not receive orientation training in public accounting system training.
“All the experienced staff were redeployed to non-financial duties after the fraud scandal that was reported by private auditors in the past,” MEC was quoted verbatim in its defence.
“Kalonga is accused of wasting public resources under the pretext that MEC is an independent corporate body as if it operates on its own generated income,” he report notes.
Kalonga has since refused to comment saying the audit report is not final.
Ministry of Finance, which carried out the audit through the Central Audit Unit, explained this week the audit was carried “because MEC’s large budget vis a vis the national budget posed a higher fiscal risk”.
On procurement, the auditors reported that they did not find evidence of a claim of payment for supply of goods by a Tanzanian company, SCI, amounting to K16.6 million; goods procured outside procurement plan and budget amounting to K40.6 million and procurement without Office of the Director of Public Procurement amounting to K526.6 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :