The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has been caught in a K22 billion procurement mess, as revealed in the 2021 National Audit Report.
According to the report, MPS tops the list of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) caught flouting procurement procedures after implementing activities that were not planned for and approved.
The report reveals that the service failed to maintain a procurement and disposal of assets plan, such that, in the absence of such a plan, officials went ahead to procure goods and services valued at K22 billion.
“[The] Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (2017), Section 39, requires procuring and disposing entities to plan procurement and disposal activities with a view to achieving maximum value from both public expenditures and disposal proceedings, including other objectives set forth in the Act.
“The audit established that the Department of Malawi Police Service did not prepare a procurement and disposal of assets plan for the year ended 30th June 2021. Procurements made without plan, during the year under review, amounted to K22,000,000,000,” the report reads.
MPS is also faulted for noncompliance with framework regulations after procuring drugs amounting to K146,983,474 from several pharmaceutical companies and rations from Sana Cash and Carry amounting to K367,972,147 without any framework agreement with the suppliers.
“The total amount on noncompliance with framework regulations was K514,955,622.02,” the report reads.
MPS is also said to have procured goods amounting to K78.2 million, which were not delivered.
“According to the records reviewed during the audit, it was revealed that some building materials under Development Part ii funding were never delivered despite payments being made to the suppliers. This is according to a report by the Inspector General, named 2020-2021 Rehabilitation of Staff Houses and Offices Progress Report, dated 04th November 2021,” the report, which acting Auditor General (AG) Thomas Makiwa has signed, reads.
Second on the procurement irregularities list is the Ministry of Education, with K529.3 million said to be used irregularly.
The Malawi Parliament is third on the list, with K389 million being listed as misused, followed by the Ministry of Economic Planning, where the report queries the whereabouts of K80 million.
Reacting to the findings, MPS spokesperson Peter Kalaya said they have just gotten hold of the report and that they will make a statement after looking into it.
“We are looking into the report and we need time before we can respond,” Kalaya said.
In an earlier interview, Chairperson for the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament Mark Botomani said all MDAs mentioned in the audit report will be summoned to respond to the findings.
“Having received the financial and audit reports from the Auditor General, our duty as Pac is to start conducting public hearings where we summon all concerned MDAs and local authorities whose documents have been submitted for them to respond to the audit queries as observed by the AG. This is in line with the provisions of the Public Audit Act (2003) as amended in 2022, read together with the Public Finance Management Act,” Botomani said.