Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has directed the Auditor General (AG) to audit all parastatals to determine how finances have been used or abused in the institutions.
Gondwe said the audits have been instituted following a multitude of reports of fraud in parastatals.
The minister, however, said at the moment government is still pre-occupied with audits in local government authorities because loss of money in local authorities has a direct impact on local poor people.
But Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on finance Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi criticised the manner in which the parastatals are being audited, saying it shows lack of seriousness in the running of the affairs of the country.
Said Dzonzi: “Waiting for people to complain in order to act, reveals lack of seriousness in the running of the affairs of the State by our colleagues in DPP.
“Malawi is being run by tired, retired and unpatriotic Malawians who have no plan for the country or their ministries. We are really concerned with reports of fraud in statutory corporations.”
He said ordinarily a functional Minister of Finance is supposed to have an annual plan of public institutions to be audited by the AG to avoid the ad hoc approach the minister has taken.
According to Dzonzi, “a serious Minister of Finance can even call for statutory audits already done on these parastatals, peruse them and make an informed opinion on whether these institutions are prudent enough in the way they use public money.”
For example, he queried why every senior officer at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has a state-of-the-art vehicle allocated to him/her personally when such an institution is supposed to have very few executive vehicles but pool cars because they are largely an operations organisation.
He also questioned the justification for the expensive vehicles that the management of Road Fund Administration (RFA) have against the quality of roads in the country.
Dzonzi said his party does not subscribe to government’s window dressing approach when tackling mismanagement of finances in public institutions.
He argued that public abuse of funds is done with the full knowledge of the Executive arm of government.
AG’s public relations officer Rabson Kagwamminga confirmed that the office would carry out the audits in line with their mandate.
Said Kagwamminga: “The fact is that all institutions within the mandate of the Auditor General will be audited.”
He said the office has already made great strides in the work and they have confidence that with the reasonable financial resources available they will audit all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by the end of this fiscal year.
He said institutions such as MRA, RFA and others are audited by the Auditor General directly and indirectly depending on the type of audit.
“This is in keeping with our mission to provide reasonable assurance on the accountability, transparency and value for money in the use of public resources to all stakeholders through quality and timely audits,” said Kagwamminga.
Section 184 of the Constitution and the Public Audit Act of 2003 gives the AG power to conduct audits of all government institutions including statutory corporations.
Section 6(2) of the Public Audit Act no 6 of 2003 further states: “The Auditor General shall undertake an audit programme to review and approve the audited accounts of statutory bodies and conduct audits of any statutory body that has not had its financial statements audited by a firm of public auditors.”
And it says where the Auditor General does not approve the audited financial statements of a statutory body; he shall commence an independent audit of the statutory body within thirty days of rejecting the private audit report. n