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DPP government sustains cash gate probe, Baker Tilly team back

LILONGWE (MaraviPost) — The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of the Peter Mutharika administration has resuscitated the serious cash gate probe with the British audit firm Baker Tilly barely about over a month after taking over government, Maravi Post understands.

This comes amid revelation that the Baker Tilly team of auditors are back in the country to conduct prolonged investigations into the cash gate scandal of the public resources plunder.

Last year during the Peoples Party led administration some civil servants and politicians stole government resources from public coffers using the weak Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).

The IFMIS according to IT experts had flaws that facilitated easy draining of public resources and that passwords for accessing the system were shared among senior and junior civil servant staff who managed to access the financial transactions easily.

The information also revealed that there was no regular reconciliation of accounts for government departments and ministries as a result treasury and the central bank could not trace dubious financial transactions.

Central Bank Governor Charles Chuka explained last year before the then public accounts committee of parliament that his office could not deny or bar the cashing of funds because the government policy compels the central bank to honour without denying paying a government certified cheque.

After the revelations of the massive looting of the public funds the government with the help of the British government contracted the British audit firm Baker Tily whose preliminary audit report that was released early this year found out that about K13 billion amount of funds were looted from government coffers.

Soon after releasing their first preliminary report the British auditors went back to London leaving Malawians debating on why their report that was made public omitted names of suspects which the public felt could have been a priority so that citizens know the truth behind the scam.

In an interview with MaraviPost the National Audit Office Spokesperson Thomas Chafunya confirmed that the British audit experts are back in the country as part of their continued auditing work.

“The Baker Tilly team is indeed back in the country and they will continue from where they left last time. They are still working on building up case files which they will later submit to the auditor general and as per legal requirement the auditor general will submit the case files to the Anti Corruption Bureau and other law enforcing agencies for action,” said Chafunya. 

He said that the British auditors are working with local auditors from the national auditor general’s office to ensure that work progresses as required.

According to Chafunya over 28 case files have already been submitted to the country’s law enforcing agencies since last year when the firm started its auditing task. 

Chafunya said that about 68 case files are expected to be submitted to law enforcement agencies at the end of the firms audit work and then the names of the suspects involved in the cashgate scam will be known.

 

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