Vice-President Saulos Chilima says achieving reforms requires a much stronger involvement of every player in organisations, including the internal audit function.
The Vice-President said this in his keynote address delivered at the 20th annual conference of the Institute of Internal Auditor Malawi (IIA-M) in Mangochi on Friday under the theme Insightful Internal Auditing: Pushing Traditional Boundaries.
He said: “It is no secret that Malawi has had its fair share of financial scandals both in the public and private organisations.
“Following these scandals, most of which we have heard such as the plunder of public resources, fraud in banks, construction companies and many other organisations, the role of internal audit has come under greater public scrutiny than ever before.”
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Private Sector Reforms, said to some, internal auditors are regarded as investigators, adding that the expectation is “even greater to change the mindset and do exactly what is expected”.
He challenged internal auditors in both public and private sector to live up to the billing and show that internal audit plays a unique role and should be properly deployed as game-changers in an organisation.
“Those who view internal audit as the same as investigators need to be enlightened that internal audit focuses on how the business is run and managed and how the management team runs the business,” said Chilima.
For a number of years, internal auditors have struggled to be embraced in many organisations, resulting in them being pushed to the lower rank of the organisation’s hierarchy.
In view of this, Chilima asked organisations to change their mindset and perception of internal auditors, observing that they are critical in providing board of directors and audit committee assurance in relation to governance, risk management and control processes.
On his part, IIA-M president Ackson Banda said the internal audit function is now more prominent in many organisations than before because of its usefulness.
He called on internal auditors to rise to the occasion and ensure that wastefulness and fraud in organisations is checked.
Banda agreed with the Vice-President that legislation to govern the internal auditors is critical as it will improve effectiveness of the internal audit function.
The two-day conference attracted presentations from both local and international presenters, including Jenitha John, who is Institute of Internal Audit Global chairperson.