Treasury has demanded that police investigate and arrest those suspected to have been involved in the looting of billions of kwacha in 10 government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) through manipulation of the Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS).
Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani, who wrote the IG on November 24 2015, said in the letter that apart from urging the Inspector General (IG) of Police to act as a controlling officer in the HRMIS breach, he also asked the top policeman to “consider applying your law enforcement responsibilities in general to address any fraudulent activities revealed by the report.”
Mangani also asked controlling officers in the 10 MDAs, including the police, to enforce recommendations of the National Audit Office (NAO) payroll audit findings.
The letters are addressed to controlling officers in the following MDAs: Local Government and Rural Development, Health, Education, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Human Resources Management and Development, Tourism and the registrar of the High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and Malawi Police Service (MPS.
“In relation to all the recommendations relating to explaining data discrepancies and strengthening the payroll management framework, I strongly urge you to take disciplinary action against any offenders under your supervision, including those within the common service which you manage in line with the admissible government human resource management practices,” urges Mangani in one of the letters to controlling officers.
And in an earlier letter dated July 28 2015, Mangani also advised controlling officers in the affected ministries to take action against civil servants found to have swindled government money as per the audit findings.
Reads the letter in part: “As you may be aware, the Auditor General and the Central Internal Audit office conducted an audit of the Human Resource Management Information System [HRMIS] in February 2015.
“The audit findings show that there are irregularities in the payroll records in your ministry which require correction.”
The rot exposed by the audit included some officers receiving more than one salary; others getting paid leave grants in excess of their entitlements and in some cases, excess amounts paid monthly.
Further, according to the letter, the audit found that the S2 salary electric file to the bank was manipulated, such that some officers’ payroll records were different from the amounts credited in their bank accounts.
Added the letter: “Your ministry’s funding report [GP5A] is manipulated to reflect higher totals and excess amounts above GP5A have been released to your ministry.
“This excess money has been the source of abuse; some of the officers on your payroll are beyond the statutory age for retirement; ghost workers have also been identified in your payroll records; and there’s abuse of special allowance codes.”
Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya declined to comment.
NAO spokesperson Lawrence Chinkhunda said yesterday his office is yet to release the actual figures as the audit is still underway.
President Peter Mutharika this year commissioned a head count payroll audit after shocking revelations of mismanagement of funds in the civil service.
Earlier this year, civil servants in the Ministry of Agriculture irrigation and water development were arrested after embezzling millions of kwacha through the creation of ghost workers and paying themselves tripled salaries.
In February this year, Weekend Nation—which first reported the payroll scandal—established that as much as K7 billion could have been siphoned through HRMIS manipulation. n