National Audit Office (NAO) audit has revealed that donor money amounting to K925, 918, 030.14 were looted from the health ministry’s finance, human resources and HIV and AIDS department.
The auditors pounced at the Department following request by the American Ambassador Virginia Palmer who had suspected that some dishonest employees were abusing the funds to spearhead a national response to HIV/Aids, a pandemic which has wiped out an entire generation of adults in Malawi and left over a million children orphaned.
The figures have been under tight lid since the embarrassing scandal as Health Minister Peter Kumpalume said the stolen money ran into “millions.”
But Nyasa Times can now confirm about the figures which intial findings on the looting indicated that money amounted to K2.5 billion it has been reduced to K925, 918, 030.14.
Auditor General Steven Kamphasa said his office cannot comment on anything on the matter since his office has already submitted the findings to the Ministry of Health.
US-funded Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had written the ministry to complain that they suspected civil servants from the HIV and AIDS project were defrauding the government.
US ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, is onrecord saying that that she hoped the authorities “will identify those responsible and that they will be held fully accountable for the misuse of funds intended to improve the health of Malawian citizens.”
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Macphail Magwira said Malawi government will have to pay back the money and deal with the culprits.
“We will not treat this issue with kid groves, we want to make sure that all those who were involved in such malpractice are brought to book using while using Section 39 of Public employment act,” said Magwira.
Malawi government suspended 63 seniors officials in the health ministry to allow auditors to investigate and audit the accounts.
Those who were suspended included the Director of human resource, the Director of finance and two chief accountants to pave way for a thorough audit investigation over unjustified withdrawal of
allowances and fuel abuse.
Malawi, which depends on foreign aid for about 40 percent of its national budget, has suffered after donors withheld funding over a large-scale corruption scandal
Prosecutors have in the past said one third of Malawi’s government revenue is lost through fraud.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :