The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday sent back officials from the Office of the Vice-President, for lack of preparedness and not giving convincing answers to audit queries.
“The officials seemed to have not been well prepared. They are failing to give convincing answers and it’s a shame that a high office like that there is no financial prudence,” said PAC chairperson Ken Kandodo after the meeting.
The committee is reviewing the Auditor General’s report of government accounts for the year-ended June 30 2017, where about K5.3 billion is reported to have not been accounted for by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the 2016/17 fiscal year.
During the week, the committee met some (MDAs) controlling officers to explain their expenditure and give answers to the audit report.
After meeting officials from the Office of the Vice-President, led by the Secretary to the Vice-President and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Wilson Moleni, the committee decided to send the team back as they failed to explain how money was used in the veep’s office.
During the hearing, questions were raised about how K90 million was liquidated in the office during the stated period and why there were unverified funds amounting to K33 million to foreign embassies, a misallocations of K14 million on expenditure, an unaccounted for fuel of K51 million and goods purchased without evidence of delivery amounting to K103 million, among others.
Kandodo said the officials failed to bring supporting documents of the expenditures.
“At the same time, the figures they are bringing and those of the report don’t match, so we had to send them back to prepare and come back to meet us,” he said.
The PAC chairperson further said it was sad that instead of setting a good precedence in managing public funds, the office, like other MDAs, are failing to even account for fuel expenditure and provide supporting documents for the same.
In a separate interview, Moleni said since the audit under review was from year back, they will prepare to come with clean records.
“We take it that they would like us to make few corrections here and there, we will work on whatever they have guided us to work on and we will present them again the way they want. I have to admit that there were weaknesses, and will work on them so that we have perfect work,” he said.
Prudent public finance management remains a pipedream as Malawi Government accounts audits continue to expose financial weaknesses in the system.
For instance, in the 2016/17 fiscal year audit report, some controlling officers were noted to have failed to provide supporting documents for expenditures.
In his executive summary of the Malawi Government Accounts for the year ending June 30 2017, former Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa reports that payments without supporting vouchers increased from K517.1 million in June 2016 to K5.3 billion.
The audit report, which Parliament is now reviewing has seen a 1 185 percent increase in missing payment vouchers and other important documents.