Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa has attested to the authenticity of the Cashgate report containing names of individuals and companies allegedly involved in the plunder of government resources at Capital Hill.
The public release of the report has attracted criticism from various sections of society who believe the report was tampered with and was not in normal audit language.
Speaking in an interview yesterday following the public release last week, Kamphasa said while it was unprocedural to release the report that was not for public consumption, the Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu had his blessing to do so after scrutinising the criminal aspects of the report.
Section 184 (2) of the Constitution states that the Auditor General shall submit reports to the National Assembly through the Minister responsible for Finance after the completion of the reports.
Said Kamphasa: “This report is genuine. It is authentic. In my letter [to the Ministry of Finance] I said this was a report to be delivered to Parliament, but since there were some issues bordering on crimes, the Ministry of Justice needed to clear them then issue a statement, as they have done.”
British audit firm Baker Tilly conducted the forensic audit on behalf of the National Audit Office (NAO) funded by Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom government.
On threats of lawsuits to Baker Tilly or Auditor General, Kamphasa said people should not take issues in the report emotionally, but seek clarification on the work the auditors carried out.
“If there are those who want to contradict the evidence collected, they can go ahead. The Anti-Corruption Bureau [ACB] is doing its work and this report is supported by case files, which are very detailed and are now with ACB,” he said.
On lack of use of audit language, Kamphasa explained that a forensic audit goes beyond the normal audit; hence, it should not be likened to other technical audits.
He maintained that the report was not meant for public consumption.
But the procedure in which the forensic audit has been released has not pleased the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, which does not have the report officially, yet it is in the public domain.
The committee’s chairperson, Alekeni Menyani, said the committee felt sidelined and the unconstitutional way the report has been released has created fertile ground for conflict.
“The committee is mandated by law to receive reports, we are not asking for favours. We are imploring on government to follow procedures,” he said.
In response to Menyani’s concerns, Tembenu said he had information that the report was already submitted to Parliament through Minister of Finance.
But when put to him that the Auditor General had also said he was yet to table the report before the committee, Tembenu said he just did what the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe asked him to do.
In an interview yesterday, Gondwe confirmed asking Tembenu to make the presentation.
Gondwe also agreed that it was unporocedural, but he was quick to say that he did not mean to sideline PAC.
He said Cashgate matters were being handled by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; hence, he wanted continuity.
However, Gondwe said he would comply with the Constitutional provisions and present the report in Parliament at the next meeting.