By Yamikani Msukwa
Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament have asked Accountant General, David Kandoje to step down to pave way for thorough investigations, which should be done by external auditors.
PAC also faulted Kandoje for instituting investigations arguing that the Accountant General’s Department could not investigate itself when some of the dirty transactions in relation to cash gate scandal originated from the same office.
Kandoje and other officials from his office and Auditor General Steven Kamphasa appeared before the committee on Wednesday in Lilongwe as part of investigations into the current plunder of public resources at Capital Hill which has led to loss of over K20 billion.
Kandoje told the committee that his office has undertaken measures to extract information that will lead to the identification of weakness in the government accounting system.
He said they engaged Softech, the supplier of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to recover all transactions which were deleted in the system.
But this did not go down well with members of the committee, among them Thyolo Thava legislator Lifred Nawena and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Treasurer General Henry Mussa, who wanted to know who authorized the Accountant General to investigate his own office.
“There was a need for a independent external auditors to avoid conflict of interest, chances of tampering with evidence are very high,” said Mussa.
Auditor General took trouble to come to the rescue of his counterpart by assuring the committee that forensic audit to be carried out in due course will respond to all queries.
The National Audit Office is currently developing Terms of Reference for the British firm which will carry out a forensic audit of the government accounting system, according to Kamphasa.
Kamphasa also indicated that IFMIS will continue to be used for government financial operations until June 2014 and would only be abandoned if control measures do not work.
Currently, all government financial transactions are being done manually, he said.