The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has accused the Executive of deliberately frustrating its operations by reducing the number of days for the committee to scrutinise audit reports from 25 to 10 days in a calendar year.
But Treasury has said funding remains inadequate for all ministries and departments as the government sails through troubled times.
The committee has since identified donors to enable it scrutinise outstanding audit reports in January next year.
Among the reports to be scrutinised is the data analysis compiled by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) titled Final Analysis Report: Reconstruction of the Malawi Government Cashbook for Purposes of Further Investigation which indicated that K577 billion ($1.6 billion) cannot be accounted in the government’s bank statements between 2009 and December 31 2014.
Parliament’s PAC is one of the institutions which has suffered budget cuts under the ongoing austerity measures which the government is implementing due to the zero-aid budget.
Presenting a paper titled The Impact of Auditor General’s Reports in the Accountability Process: PAC Experience in Malawi to the National Audit Office (NAO) organised international symposium that ended in Lilongwe on Tuesday, chairperson of the committee, Alekeni Menyani, accused the government of denying his committee the chance to scrutinise the ongoing process into the 2009 to 2014 forensic audit allegedly because it touches on the previous administration of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
He said: “There is a lot of political interference in the prioritisation of reports which can come before the committee. The government has limited the time that PAC is given to meet from 20 to 25 days in a financial year to 10. We are suspicious.”
Menyani said the 10 days the committee was givenlast month to consider all reports referred to it were not adequate.
He recommended that the committee should be adequately funded to look at recent Auditor General’s Reports to ensure timely correction of irregularities in the government financial system.
In his presentation, Menyani bemoaned that the committee was not taken seriously as some controlling officers underrate the legislative oversight function due to the fact that there are no clear consequences for failure to comply.