Malawi government has recalled its envoys from Kenya, Zambia and Japan and relocating some amidst report that President Peter Mutharika is “absolutely furious” with the fraud at Malawi mission in Addis Ababa and has called for thorough investigations.
The recalled diplomats are former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Perks Ligoya who was serving in Kenya barely a year after being relocated from India. He will be replaced by Reverend Mwanamveka who is redeployed from Japan embassy where he is working as first secretary.
Also recalled is David Bandawe, the Malawi envoy in Zambia and Brigadier Reuben Ngwenya from Japan.
Malawi government has also recalled and suspended Deputy Ambassador Doreen Kapanga and first secretary (administration) Fletcher Chowe from Ethiopia mission for allegedly attempting to siphon $30 000 (about K20 million) through a cheque written in the First Secretary’s name.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila confirmed the development.
He said President Mutharika is “absolutely furious” with fraud in embassies.
The President has also directed Chief Secretary to government George Mkondiwa to ensure state protection of auditors carrying their work in missions in Addis Ababa which represent Malawi in Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) and others, according to Kasaila.
The Auditor General (AG) has confirmed that Malawi’s foreign missions are undergoing audits which the office has not been able to do on an annual basis.
This follows revelations by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation that it has formulated an audit plan for its missions whose audit reports have not seen the light of day.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Principal Secretary Dalitso Kabambe said there were ongoing audits at the Brussels mission in Belgium and the mission in Germany.
“We are processing audits for New York, Harare, South Africa, Nairobi and Maputo. In the end all embassies will be audited as mandated by the Public Audit Act,” he said.
National Audit Office (NAO) has committed to audit five embassies a year, but due to lack of funds, only one embassy will be audited as soon as funds are made available.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has instituted reforms in Malawi’s missions abroad which includes reducing the number of diplomats in established positions from 234 to 152 and established an appraisal system to apply to local and Malawi staff.
Government has since recalled 82 diplomats from the country’s foreign missions and plans to reduce the number further by the end of June next year.
Recently, government also redeployed diplomats Necton Mhura, Edward Sawerengera and Brian Bowler from New York at the UN and Brazil respectively less than two years being in office.
Critics questioned the wisdom of replacing Necton Mhura from Washington who was just beginning to settle down to his post. They also question the wisdom of the Mutharika administration and the little regard it has shown to date to the most important mission posting in the world.
They also question the wisdom of posting Sawerengera to the most visible and demanding mission in the whole world, New York at the UN with reports that his wife Maggie Mbilizi has been pushing for his redeployment to Washington DC.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Spokesperson Rejoice Shumba rejected that the diplomat redeployment were staged to appease a nagging wife, saying the move was a normal relocation.
Ambassador Bowler has been moved to Brazil to take position of Sawerengera who has been moved to Washington and ambassador Mhura has been moved to New York.
“Government would always make such changes when it sees it fit and necessary for enhancing public service delivery”, said Shumba.
There are 19 Malawi foreign missions of which eight are in Africa, four in Europe, five in Asia in addition to the United Nations mission in New York, United States of America.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :