Several Malawi Government departments have been failing to account for millions of kwacha in public funds, according to a latest audit report by the Auditor Generalâ€™s office.
But the Auditor General (AG) says it is up to controlling officers, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) or Fiscal Police to take up matters should they suspect elements of fraud or corruption in the concerned departments.
The Malawi High Commission in Maputo, Mozambique, is among government institutions the AG says have failed to account for funds.
The report, presented to Finance Minister Ken Lipenga last week Tuesday by AG Reckford Kampanje and later tabled in Parliament by the minister, says the mission incurred a total over-expenditure of K21 million-plus (over $84 000). This was from the budget allocation of 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years.
The Maputo mission also irregularly granted personal advances to staff amounting to $41 084.00 (about K6 244 768) without authorisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The amount was still outstanding as at day of audit in September 2010.
The AG, who recommended to the Finance Minister that losses be expeditiously investigated and reported in accordance with Treasury instructions, also faults the Blantyre City Council (BCC) for its failure to account for unclaimed wages of over K1.1 million (about $4 400).
The report, which also recommends strengthening of audit committees in all government ministries and departments, says BCC incurred an excess payment to temporary employees of over K3.3 million (about $13 200) in respect of wages between October 2008 and January 2010.
The AG also faults the Zomba District Health Office (DHO) where examination of stock cards, invoices and delivery notes for the period between November and December 2009 reveals that drugs and other medical supplies worth over K4.1 million (about $16 400) were not recorded.
According to the report, an examination at the health office shows that management incurred irregular expenditure of over K5.8 million (about $23 200) for subsistence allowances which were paid out to various staff for carrying out activities which were part of their normal day-to-day duties and responsibilities within their station.
The Zomba DHO also failed to account for about K6 million on other expenditures, according to the report.
The report also says a review of land property for the Regional Commissioner for Lands (South) shows a long outstanding uncollected ground rent of over K44 million (about $176 000), long outstanding duty, fees and development charges of over K5.1 million (about $20 400), some dating back as far as 1990.
National Audit Office (NAO) corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya on Friday said when an audit is concluded, it is up to the controlling officer and management of that particular organisation to pick up the matters raised with other bodies such as the fiscal police if the cases established are fraud in nature or the ACB if the irregularities established are corruption in nature.
Said Chafunya: “However, if the Auditor General and the National Audit Office observe that the controlling officer and the management are still reluctant to report these issues for a long time, NAO then hands over the cases to these bodies.”