The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says investigations into the alleged financial abuse of about K15.4 million at the commission are at an advanced stage to determine facts of the matter.
The probe was instituted after government appointed a three-member independent team of reviewers in August this year.
The team comprise Auditor General (AG) Stevenson Kamphasa, retired judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Duncan Tambala and Rex Harawa, managing partner for AMG Global, certified public accountants and auditors.
In an interview on Thursday, MEC Commissioner Linda Kunje, who chairs the Finance and Administration Committee, said there was good progress on the investigations and that the team should be winding up the exercise in a while.
Said Kunje: “We are reliably informed that investigations are at an advanced stage and very soon they should be completing the exercise, but apart from that there is no other feedback.”
The investigating team started re-evaluating the audit early September and initially MEC indicated the independent reviewers would carry out and complete the exercise within 30 days.
However, three months have now elapsed since the independent reviewers started reassessing the audit report which was undertaken in 2015.
In May this year, delegates to Malawi Electoral Cycle Support (Mecs) project steering committee meeting, comprising government officials and development partners, made a resolution to send the officers on leave pending the investigations.
However, the embattled electoral body only put into effect the forced leave of the chief elections officer (CEO) Willie Kalonga alongside his six senior officers on August 24 after the appointment of the probe team.
Besides Kalonga, affected officers included deputy chief elections officer (operations) Harris Potani, director of administration and human resources George Khaki, director of finance Khumbo Phiri, procurement manager Edington Chilapondwa, procurement officer Chimwemwe Kamala and assistant procurement officer Sydney Ndembe.
But when asked yesterday on the timeframe of the suspension, Kunje said the commission could not give specific period because of challenges that come along with audit queries.
“When an audit is taking place, there are a lot of variables that go with it in the course of the exercise so we could not give specific period of the suspension,” she said.
Initially, a special investigative audit conducted between July 2012 and December 2014 by Ministry of Finance and Economic Development through its Central Internal Audit Unit revealed that about K1.6 billion could not be accounted for by MEC management.