Malawi: Thomas Makiwa Appointed Auditor General Subject to Parliamentary Approval

16 August 2023

Thomas Makiwa has been appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera as Auditor General of National Audit Office, having acted in that position from 2018-2020 and from 2021 till now.

In his appointment letter issued last Wednesday, August 9, Secretary to the President & Cabinet, Colleen Zamba informed Makiwa that the appointment is subject to confirmation after deliberation and voting in Parliament.

Meanwhile, as indicated on Monday's Parliamentary Order Paper, Minister of Finance & Economic Planning, Sosten Gwengwe is expected to move the motion to confirm Makiwa -- under Section 184(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and Section 5 of the Public Audit Act (2003).

There had been many calls from stakeholders to fill up the vacancy of this very important post of the supreme audit Institution in Malawi -- which Makiwa himself told Parliament last year that the lack of a permanent holder for the position was affecting its operations.

Established before Malawi became independent -- under Article 79 (4) of the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland -- the Auditor General, among other duties, is an advisor to Parliament through the Public Accounts Committee on financial and economic governance.

The Office of Auditor General provides assurance on accountability, transparency, integrity and value for money in the management of public resources to all stakeholders through quality audits.

It also seeks to promote good governance in Malawi -- with the Auditor General responsible for examining transactions, books and accounts and other public records, of every government department and agency and public funds received by non-profit organisations, including relevant international organisations.

Thus the great need to fill up the vacancy that had existed since 2018 after the departure of Stephenson Kamphasa whose contract expired in June of that year after replacing Reckford Kampanje, who retired in 2013.

Last month, Malawi News reported that two months into his job, Kamphasa presided over the exposure of a massive public sector fraud -- dubbed Cashgate in September 2013 -- after a forensic audit that Kamphasa initiated to trace an estimated US$32 million of missing public funds.

The newspaper reported that government was attempting to fill the position last year but "never completed the process on the grounds that only two of those that applied had the right qualifications".

It also reported that "Parliament changed the law last year, lowering the requirement to accommodate any accountant general with a Master's degree and also who is chartered".

"However, the Chartered Institute of Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) argued that the move was ill-advised" and that "failure to fill the position was more about [lack of] political will."

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