The country’s electoral body, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has sent on leave with immediate effect seven of its staff members following reports of financial mismanagement at the commission.
The MEC employees who have been sent on leave include Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga, his deputy Harris Potani, Director of Administration and Human Resources George Khaki and Director of Finance Khumbo Phiri.
Others are Procurement Manager Edington Chilapondwa, Procurement Officer Chimwemwe Kamala, and her assistant Sydney Ndembe.
The MEC board hopes the forced leave will allow an audit team set up by government to carry out its duty without influence.
“The commission has resolved to send these officers on immediate leave in order to pave way for the audit team set up to review the audit responses presented by the commission to be able to do its work without any undue influence,” reads the statement signed by Chairperson of MEC Finance and Administration Committee Linda Kunje.
The statement added that MEC is committed to ensuring that its operations adhere to all legal, public and international standards hence the need for engaging this independent audit team.
“The audit team will complete its work within a short period and the commission will at that point make known to the public the outcome of the review and the action that it will take,” reads the statement.
It is suspected that over K15 million of public funds were abused at the electoral body between 2012 and 2014.