Talking Blues: If you live in a glass house….

The indigenous legion of our shattered accountants, oops delete that…. I mean our home-grown chartered accountants, recently made an annual pilgrimage to Lake Malawi.

Just like yesteryear when I laughed my head off on the supreme irony of the key note address, this year was no different.

Without boring you to death, I had beef with the then key note speaker’s belated ‘do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-did’ hypocrisy.

In short, the wisdom that last year’s esteemed speaker was purporting to display at the indaba wasn’t in evidence when he was heading one of the biggest financial institutions in Malawi.

But yet there he was. Lambasting one bank – it was the NBS I think – for operating like a village operation. Yet, he was‘chair’ of the same bank for years!

Anyway, I will let sleeping dogs lie, and refocus on current affairs.

This year the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) bestowed the delivery of a key note address to FDH Financial Holdings Chief Executive Officer, Thom Mpinganjira.

Now, let me jog your memory.

Mr Thom Mpinganjira is the gentleman who literally laughed all the way to the bank after grabbing the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) from us, the hapless tax-payers.

We cried and marched for our bank.But this gentleman, yes, Mr Mpinganjira scolded us; saying that people who know nothing about banking and the money business should go whistle.

Thom Mpinganjira: Holier than though hypocricy

Addressing one of the many concerns raised that the bank had been sold for a song, verbatim, vintage Mpingajira said:

“I should know better because I am an accountant by training. I spent five years at the University of Malawi studying accounting and valuations we do from first year. I am a chartered accountant that means I spent three to four years studying UK chartered accounting and I have worked in audit and I have worked in private sector and we have bought and sold shares as FDH.

“If you are not an expert don’t get involved. Valuation is something that takes years to understand. Now I am surprised that there are people that are masquerading as experts.”

This was Thom Mpinganjira Esq.

But you know who laughed last?

It was us, and boy-o-boy, we are still laughing! Ha Ha Ha!

Blues’ Orators, it didn’t take long for this self-styled‘valuation guru’ to realize that all that glitters is not gold and cry foul that the government had in fact,robbed him and hence we – the taxpayers – should cough more money.

He even had the cheek to demand back a whooping K1.1 billion from the amount he paid for MSB shares on grounds that MSB was overvalued.

What chutzpah! What nonsense!

Of course we told him off.After all, he had ample time for due diligence before signing the deal.

The eighth wonder of the world is how a chartered accountant who spent five years at the University of Malawi studying accounting and valuations (from first year),then another three to four years studying UK chartered accounting, then worked in audit and the private sector and on top of all that has been dealing in shares, could make such a Billion-Kwacha blunder.

If this is what the best of our chartered accountants can do, how about the shattered types?

Food for thought.

Anyway, it offers no hope at all that such Billion-Kwacha-blunder prone dudes are deemed idyllic to deliver key note addresses to our accountants.

Very telling from the self-acclaimed ‘valuations’ don’s speech is the quote: “a man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car, but if he has university education, he may steal the whole railroad!

Blues’ Orators, is this not what happened vis-à-vis the MSB bank?

If this isn’t the foundation of cashgate and the rampant plunder of public funds happening daily, what is?

Thing is: while chiefs nick a few bags of subsidized fertilizer and get locked away, our learned leaders rob us of national assets from tractors, council houses to banks and then have the effrontery to stand on a podium to preach about integrity.

With latest headlines reporting that Malawi is haemorrhaging billions of Kwachas through fraud, mismanagement and corruption and with our professional accountants often caught in the crossfires of the decadence, it is clear that jeremiads -like Thom Mpinganjira’s -are just as good as a crocodile shedding tears over its prey.

“I want to challenge accountants that to be influential, they must be at the heart of curbing corruption, reporting suspicious transactions and unethical behaviours,” Mpinganjira said.

“The evils of our inaction in curbing corruption have caused misery to the lives of millions of our people and they must be brought out into the light. They are not pleasant. They are disturbing,”the proverbial crocodile’s tears, in prose.

I concur!

Dubious acquisitions of public property like the MSB are disgusting and indeed to blame for the misery of millions of our people.

Sadly, while Icam President Henry Chowawa conceded that accountants are indeed facilitating fraudulent activities, he fell short of grabbing the elephant that was right in the room by its tusk!

“The level of moral decay by our members is reaching unprecedented levels. The profession, which is so noble, is gradually drifting into the muddy waters of disrepute.

“We cannot afford to be buried in the scroll of failed professionalism. We should never allow even one member of this noble profession to be the cancer that will perforate through our long-cherished trust, reputation, diligence, and ethical conduct,” Chowawa grieved.

He then warned that Icam is investigating over 10 corruption cases involving some of its members and it will publicise the culprits’ names.

If he wants a name to headline that list, Chowawa doesn’t need to look too far!

But seriously, I wish Icam and Chowawa learned to invite speakers that are fit for purpose – not the holier-than-thou types who believe in throwing stones knowing very well they live in glass houses!

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CHINGUNDU PULIKA
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KOMA ZILIKOLIKO. KUSUTSA GALU NKUKUMBA. ZIPOSE PAMENEPA KODI. WHERE IS HIS INTEGRITY ? WHEN HE SNATCHED MSB HE STOOD ON TOP OF THE HILL AND SAID, NO JOBS WILL BE LOST AT MSB. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS EVERY MALAWIAN’S RIGHT GUESS. THE PHARISEE AND REPUBLICAN STORY. OR THE ROBINHOOD STORY OR WHAT

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