Government faulted on auditor general

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) has expressed disappointment with government over delays to appoint a substantive Auditor General (AG) as the current acting officer’s mandate expired five months ago.

In an interview yesterday, Icam chief executive officer Francis Chinjoka Gondwe said government was taking long and flouting its own laws.

Sado: An independent body conducted interviews

He said: “The law has not been respected on this appointment and it has taken long. [Acting AG Thomas] Makiwa is now operating illegally.

“We really thought that we will have one by December because of the political landscape where we knew Parliament was to be dissolved [by March 20] and the Auditor General needed to be appointed by then.

“All the same, we are looking forward to the Parliament to do that now.”

Gondwe: Government is flouting its own laws

It is about 11 months now since the contract for the last Auditor General Stevenson Kamphasa expired.

Makiwa was appointed as Acting Auditor General, a position which can be held in an acting capacity for six months only as per Section 5(b) of the Public Audit Act of 2018.

Last year, government promised that the new AG would be hired by December 2018.

In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Davies Sado said an independent body conducted interviews after an advert was placed in the local newspapers as per requirements, asking for a candidate for the position.

He said: “All administrative procedures towards the recruitment of the Auditor General were finalised and followed according to the Act which stipulates for an independent panel to conduct interviews.

“The matter was forwarded to Parliament for confirmation. We are, therefore, hopeful that once Parliament convenes, confirmation of the Auditor General will be tabled.”

Before the May 21 Tripartite Elections, then minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said in an interview that President Peter Mutharika picked one.

The law empowers the President to “appoint an Auditor General only from the names on the list recommended by the selection panel”.

Gondwe said the process was awaiting the approval of Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee. Newly-elected members of Parliament (MPs) are scheduled to be sworn in for their five-year term next Monday and Tuesday.

Thereafter, parties represented in the National Assembly will nominate members to various committees of the House.

On June 18 last year, Mutharika appointed Harold Mwala as Auditor General following the expiry of Kumphasa’s contract.

However, the appointment was faulted for disregarding the Public Audit Act of 2018; hence, it was subsequently withdrawn. In October, the Office of the President and Cabinet, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, to advertised the post.

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