HRDC calls for independent forensic audit at Accountant General


Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have called upon government to conduct an independent forensic audit at the Accountant General’s Office  to determine the scope of fraud and to put in place measures to safeguard public finances.

The call follows the arrest of 18 employees at the accountant general over theft of K371 million.

In a statement today, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said government should also set up a special Financial Crimes Court to expedite trials that ordinarily delay due to an overwhelmed judiciary.

He added that they are calling upon President Lazarus Chakwera to implement the public sector reforms that he initiated and they believe that  the public sector will instill a sense of fiscal discipline and cut wastage of public funds fraud .

“Like most Malawians, we are shocked at the news coming out of the Accountant General Office over the past month that employees have been arrested for over alleged  irregular transactions.

“It is not entirely surprising because of the lackluster attitude in which government has been dealing with problems associated with

their finance system since the Cashgate scandal broke,” he explained.

He noted that the Malawi government has a history of being reactive and not proactive when dealing with problems.

According to Trapence, when Cashgate happened, government engaged a piecemeal approach to dealing with the financial scandal, sealing particular loopholes in the government accounting system instead of employing a holistic approach.

“The result being that, nine years after the country’s biggest financial scam, government continues to leak finances through internal fraud and scams,” he further explained

Trapence also said that the recent scandal at the Accountant Generals Office is both shameful and embarrassing because it comes from the very office that is trusted with guarding public resources.

He noted that the Accountant General’s Office is the gatekeeper of public funds and it ought to be the last office to be involved in such financial scams and the  scandal should serve as a wake-up call and jolt government to thoroughly review all systems to ensure that public resources do not go to waste.

 

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