The Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament yesterday took to task the previous People’s Party (PP) administration for failing to act on the investigative audit into the government’s central payment system which found that “K92 billion” was stolen between 2009 and 2012.
Committee chairperson Alekeni Wodala Menyani presented a report to Parliament yesterday on its review and analysis of the previous committee’s investigations into Cashgate in which he said inaction by the PP administration led to the Cashgate of 2013.
After further scrutiny, the interim report found that the actual amount lost was K87 985 808 616.82.
Menyani told Parliament yesterday that the Secretary to the Treasury’s laxity to act on the report, conducted soon after PP came to power in 2012, played a big role in paving the way for Cashgate where K13 billion was lost within six months in 2013, according to an audit by British firm Baker Tilly.
Said Menyani: “The committee believes that had it been that the report was given the necessary attention it deserved, the enormity of the Cashgate could have been greatly reduced. But a million dollar question is: why was the report not presented to the Public Accounts Committee after its production? What was there to hide?”
He added the audit exercise was stopped midway even when controlling officers were willing to provide information and “now we are paying for the sins of that particular laxity”.
The committee found that 14 ministries and departments were not audited as planned because the institutions, including Office of the President and Cabinet and National Assembly, claimed they were not ready to host the auditors from National Audit Office.
Other institutions not audited included Malawi Defence Force, ministries of Justice, Finance, Transport, Energy, Information, Foreign Affairs and also Office of the Vice-President.
Menyani further quoted President Peter Mutharika who in his State of the Nation Address promised to enhance capacity of institutions like Financial Intelligence Unit and Auditor General’s Department, saying the committee would want the same support so that the ‘K92 billion’ interim report is finalised.
The interim report found that payments amounting to K12 billion were made outside the CPS, payment vouchers for K57 billion were not produced for audit, payments worth K3.6 billion were not supported by liquidation documents while K5.7 billion was lost through payments to suppliers for goods without evidence of delivery.
Members of Parliament are expected to debate the report of the committee on Thursday.