Malawi’s National Audit Office (NAO) is investigating reports that some State residences staff looted property immediately after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5 2012.
NAO corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya confirmed in a questionnaire response last week that government directed the Auditor General to conduct an inventory of State residences’ property amid the looting reports.
Said Chafunya: “NAO has been assigned to conduct an inventory of the property at the State residences after reports that some assets were stripped by staff.
“However, this audit is different from the other one we are to extend to the State House on IFMIS [Integrated Financial Management Information System] which took us to audit the Malawi Police Service, moving on to the Malawi Army and then the State House. I would not give any information as of now because that would jeopardise our investigations.”
Prior to Mutharika’s burial on April 23 2012, there were reports that some people were moving property from State House.
President Joyce Banda also warned that her administration would not allow some people to take away what belongs to Malawians, claiming she had information that people were trying to loot State property.
Chafunya also said the office of the Auditor General has been given extra teeth by upgrading it from grade C to B in the civil service which is at par with the Deputy Chief Secretary to Government.
“This is part of government’s commitment to ensuring that NAO, as Malawi’s supreme audit institution, continues with its ongoing reforms and attain some independence as per the strategic plan we hatched in 2009 running to 2013,” he said.
Chafunya said the change puts the Auditor General (AG) above principal secretaries who are auditees. He also said the upgrade means the AG can make more recommendations to set up the appointments and disciplinary committee (ADC) to recruit staff on behalf of NAO management.
Chafunya said the new administration has already shown commitment to support the audit office to carry out audits to ensure government becomes more transparent and accountable than before.
—Immediately after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5 2012, there were reports that some people were looting property at State House.
—The National Audit Office has been assigned to conduct an inventory of the property at the State residences.