Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has asked external auditors from business advisory and audit firm Delloite to check its financial records for the period between 2014 and 2015.
The fresh audit comes after Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, through the Central Internal Audit Unit, audited MEC and established gross financial mismanagement between July 2012 and December 2014.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera, in an interview this week, described the fresh audit as normal and necessary saying there are times government is not able to carry out audits due to resources.
He said: “We normally have auditors from government who come at least once in three years, and we also have private lawyers who come in to not only audit moneys, but also undertake our risk analysis.”
Mbendera, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, said the audit is different from the investigative audit carried out by the Ministry of Finance which focused on issues raised by some private quarters.
“That one was a special report because some people were saying we [MEC] are squandering government money, while others were saying we are too nepotistic. So, there were special auditors who came,” he said.
Mbendera further said the audit, which will cover everything up to 2015, will cost MEC between K9 million and K15 million.
In January this year, rebuked MEC over reports of financial mismanagement, saying the organisation cannot afford denting its credibility in any way. President Peter Mutharika
The President expressed his concerns when MEC commissioners called on him at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe to brief him on some electoral developments since the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
But Mbendera, after the closed-door meeting with the President in January, blamed the media for having spread what he described as unsubstantiated reports, referred to by Mutharika, of massive looting at MEC.
He said MEC defended itself over the audit queries raised and that both the auditors and government could not challenge its query responses.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development instituted the audit following allegations of financial misconduct and fraud in the procurement and recruitment procedures by the institution’s management.