Britain has become the first country to respond to calls for a comprehensive forensic audit of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) whose loopholes have been blamed for the loss of billions of kwacha through theft by public servants.
A forensic audit is defined as an examination of an organisation or individual’s financial dealings, resulting in a report that could be used in court to prove financial mismanagement.
Sources at the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) disclosed in confidence to The Nation that the forensic audit experts are expected in the country next week and would be working in collaboration with the Auditor General’s office.
This development confirms what President Joyce Banda told the nation at the press conference on Wednesday that her government has sought assistance from Malawi’s development partners to scrutinise Ifmis and find out how much money has been siphoned since the system became operational in 2005.
Chief Secretary to the Government Hawa Ndilowe also confirmed, at the same press conference, that government has approached several development partners on this exercise.
In an e-mailed response to a questionnaire, British High Commissioner Michael Nevin corroborated Ndilowe’s remarks that the Malawi Government has requested assistance from development partners to carry out the forensic audit of the financial system.
Other development partners have not actively responded to government’s request but a collective response is expected once the members who make up the Common Approach to Budgetary Support (Cabs) donor group meet later in the month.
Britain is currently chairing Cabs.
Meanwhile, a grouping of civil society organisations under the Grand Coalition has urged government to get to the bottom of the theft and fraud that has occurred.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants and Auditors in Malawi (Icam) has also asked government to engage internationally reputable forensic auditors to assist with investigations as a first step towards addressing the incidents of theft and fraud at Capital Hill.