The Auditor General (AG) on Saturday attracted the wrath of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament when he failed to answer some questions on government dealings on a K500 million claim, which Pioneer Investment is demanding from the Malawi Police Service.
AG Stephenson Kamphasa who, alongside his officials, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Saturday attracted anger of MPs who cut short their inquiry because of the responses they got from him.
What broke the camel’s back was Kamphasa’s failure to answer a question on why the contract between Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Pioneer Investment was raised from about K2.3 billion to about K2.8 billion.
In response, Kamphasa was apologetic to the committee that he and his officers never noted this anomaly—an answer which attracted the anger from members, some of whom openly questioned the AG’s competences.
“Did you, AG at any point in your investigation came across information or documentation regarding the arbitrary raising of the initial contract sum of K2.3 billion to almost K2.8 billion and if you did what did you make out of that?” questioned Peter Dimba legislator for Lilongwe South amid nods of approval from fellow members.
Dimba further argued that the raise and the demand for interest substantially means that government would pay twice because the raise in contract was meant to cater for the delay in payment.
But the Auditor General had to concede that his office had not noticed the raised amount, immediately apologising to the committee that he would check on the matter.
PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani backed by other members said there was no point to continue the inquiry as the AG did not seem ready for the task.
Menyani asked the AG to go back and reconcile the figures before facing the committee.
In an interview later, Menyani said the committee is suspicious with government’s helplessness on the matter where officials (AG and ST) repeatedly emphasised on honouring the demanded interest against the police’s position.
“Yes, that is what thickens the whole plot in this interest issue where you start to think that is this a scam. Why commit yourself to something that is so erroneous and then later feel so helpless and urge everybody that let us just go ahead,” said Menyani.