Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has said the report which Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya requested on Constituency Development Fund (CDF) abuse is awaiting the Auditor General’s comments before it can be ready.
In an interview yesterday, Treasury spokesperson Davis Sado said the Central Internal-audit Unit (CIU) in the ministry is almost done with the audit and the results have been shared to the Auditor General (AG)for final vetting.
“The report is almost done and has been shared with the AG who will determine what will happen from the findings that CIU found. As a ministry, we can’t release the results before the AG’s determination. CIU is a management tool and the honour to present the report lies in the hands of the AG. After he has vetted it, he will give his determination for the public to know what happened,” he said.
Sado added that the report has taken longer than planned because some legal processes had to be followed as the final report will be a binding tool and a future reference point.
“Legal processes have to be followed, there was no way we could have cut corners for the report to come out. Whatever comes out in the document is legally binding so we needed to be careful and we needed not to rush issues,” he said.
During Parliament sitting last November, Msowoya ordered the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to work with the office of the Auditor General and the Finance Ministry to ensure the report and names of members of Parliament (MPs) who abused CDF was presented to the House before the sitting rose.
This, however, did not happen as the report is yet to be completed for reasons Treasury has described as adherence to legal procedures.
PAC has since commended the step taken by Treasury, saying the earlier communication was not procedural.
PAC Chairperson Alekeni Menyani said the ministry has now followed the right procedure and promised to take it from the ‘ view to probe those who are believed to have abused resources.
“CIU cannot give the report to Parliament, whatever they have found out they need to take it to the AG and us as Parliament we will sit with the AG to look into it. They have done the right procedure, not what they were doing in the first place by bringing names to PAC,” he said.
“We will look at the projects and the projects will implicate who abused what. So we are happy with the channel the ministry has followed. We will wait from AG and we will probe the controlling officers for government money at district level who are the district commissioners [DCs]. So we will invite the DCs who will let us know what happened for the resources to be abused. They will be the ones telling us the names of the people who abused the money whether it was by mistake or they did it under pressure,” he said.
During the presentation of the 2017/18 National Budget last year, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said about K80 million was missing from the K3 billion allocated to 16 districts under the CDF and District Development Fund (DDF).
Gondwe told Parliament that a systematic audit of 16 councils found that mismanagement of CDF and DDF funds had occurred and millions of kwacha did not go into development projects as planned.
He said most of the resources, money contributed by Malawians in form of taxes, were abused.
The Finance Minister said in both projects, out of the allocated K3 billion, over K80 million was misused and where it was used properly, the structures constructed such as classrooms, bridges and roads were substandard and unattractive.
In his opening statement of the November meeting of Parliament last year, President Peter Mutharika asked the House to do something on the reported abuse. n