Malawi President Peter Mutharika is “horrified” with continued plunder of public resources in government and wants ministries and government departments be audited with immediate effect, Presidential press secretary Gerald Viola has said.
Viola said Mutharika is not amused with reports of ghost workers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development as well as continued ‘cashgate’ in other ministries after an audit report revealed.
Quoted in the Weekend Nation which cited the audit report recently, Viola said President Mutharika is sickened and appalled with the level of fraud “hence the directive to have all ministries and government departments audited.”
Viola said: “Ghost workers, through the work of computers, have been getting salaries when people are suffering in the rural areas and cannot get jobs.”
According to the news report, Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, George Mkondiwa, said government has already started investigating all government ministries and departments.
The paper citing an investigative audit report by the Central Internal Audit (CIA), reported that the Ministry of Agriculture fraud occurred between 2012 and 2014.
Among other things, the audit exposed how the ministry lost K131.2 million (US$291 556) to accounts personnel inflating individual salaries; K25 million (US$55 556) to paying arrears no one claimed; K6.5 million (US$14 444) to recurring arrears and at least K1 million to suspected ghost workers.
The auditors suspect collusion among staff in human resources, PPPI [Payroll Pensions Processing Information Systems] and salary sections at the ministry’s headquarters in Lilongwe, some research stations and agriculture development divisions (ADDs) where the alleged malpractices were noted.
The unscrupulous staff are suspected to have manipulated data in government’s system network to bloat salaries on the payroll and get salary arrears that were not claimed.