Courts condemned over misuse of K274 million

Parliament has urged the Judiciary to put its house in order after revelations that K274 million was mismanaged at the Judiciary.

The Auditor General’s Report for the year ended 30 June, 2017 revealed that Blantyre High Court misused millions about K235 million while Lilongwe High Court, Mzuzu court, and Eastern Region Chief Resident Magistrate court mismanaged K30 million, K8 million and K1.4 million respectively.

According to the Auditor General’s Report, the mismanagement of funds was made in form of; fuel which was not recorded in the Fuel Registrar as required, misallocation of expenditures, payment of subsistence allowance without authority to the leave duty station, replaced motor vehicle spare parts but not recorded in the ledger as required, outstanding dishonored cheques from Sherriff fees and loans granted to officers without interest, among others.

The report prompted Parliamentary Committee on public Accounts to summon controlling officer for the judiciary, Agnes Patemba, over misuse of funds.

However, in response to a query on misallocation of expenditures, Registrar of High Court, Agnes Patemba elaborated that during the said period, judiciary recorded its transactions manually.

“During the said period, Judiciary was preparing its payment vouchers manually and the actual allocation to sub-items in the system was done by the Treasury Cashier, which might have been mistakenly charged to wrong items by the Treasury,” said Patemba.

Patemba further explained that on replaced spare parts of motor vehicle which was not recorded in the ledger, they later on recorded in the ledger and then submitted it to the Auditor General for verification.

Nevertheless, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has urged the Registrar of High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal to humbly put their house in order other than waiting for the PAC to command them.