UK auditors won’t reveal cashgaters: PAC meeting doubtful

Uncertainty reigns supreme over whether British forensic auditors will agree to meet Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) upon their return to Malawi to explain why they are refusing to disclose the names of the suspect in their full report.

Auditor General Stevenson Kamphasa said on Tuesday that although the Baker Tilly team has confirmed of returning to Malawi next Monday, they have told him through an email that they are not sure if they will meet PAC.

“They told me that they need to confirm with their bossed if there will be a need to meet PAC.  What they are coming here for is to finalize their work they left,” he said.

Kamphasa: Cashgate auditors might not agree to meet PAC
Kamphasa: Cashgate auditors might not agree to meet PAC

The auditors were said to be coming back to meet PAC to respond to queries on their insistence that details of perpetrators of theft of public resources should not be made public.

President Joyce Banda  told reporters last week that she had ordered the forensic auditors to return home to explain before PAC why they are withholding the names in the report.

Chairperson of PAC Beatrice Mwangonde also told a local radio Tuesday that they have not yet received communication form the forensic auditors that they will meet them.

British High Commissioner to Malawi Michael Nelvin whose government funded the audit said recently that revealing the names of the suspects would jeopardize the ongoing investigations into the scandal.

But the remarks angered civil right organizations who accused the British government of interfering into the country’s internal affairs.

Chairperson of the Council for Non-Governmental Organizations Voice Mhone said : “There is no way Britain would say Malawians are not supposed to have access to the full forensic audit report on Cashgate which has names of individuals and companies involved in the scam while the money that were looted were taxpayers money,” Mhone said.

Malawi government hired the auditors to audit government departments following the scandal in which government lost millions of public funds to people who looted the government coffers.

In their report submitted to Parliament through PAC, Baker Tilly left room for more investigations into how companies and individuals siphoned billions from government coffers.

According to procedures, the Auditor General was expected to resubmit a request to Baker Tilly to complete the audit.

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