British forensic auditors from Baker Tilly are expected back in the country next week to meet the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to respond to queries on their insistence that details of perpetrators of theft of public resources should not be made public.
PAC chairperson Beatrice Mwangonde said in an interview yesterday they had not received an official response to the request to summon the auditors, but she had information from the Auditor General’s office that they would be in the country sometime next week.
“I have been told that they will be in the country next week, but that is because they have not finished their work. As a committee, we do not know yet when they would be meeting us,” she said.
Treasury funded the committee to meet over three days and they have requested for more funding, she said.
The Auditor General, Minister of Finance and the British High Commission in Malawi have refused to release the report to PAC with British High Commissioner Michael Nevin stating that releasing names of perpetrators would be premature and may jeopardise the evidence trails.
National Audit Office (NAO) corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya said the forensic auditors had been summoned by Parliament which had the mandate to request an appearance by a private audit firm working for government and they were expected to comply.
But he would not give the exact date the auditors would be expected to explain to the nation their reasons for refusing to release a part of the report detailing the criminal nature of the theft.
The British Government contracted Baker Tilly to work alongside NAO in carrying out a forensic audit of the government financial management system for the period April to September 2013.
The German Government is expected to fund a similar exercise covering the period from 2005, when government’s electronic payment system the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) was installed, to April 2013, but this forensic audit is expected to take place upon conclusion of the current one.
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.