K493m in Nomination Fees for May 2019 Elections not accounted for at MEC

K493m received from Presidential, Legislative and Ward Councillor candidates for the May 2019 Tripartite Elections has not been properly accounted for at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Recent revelations from the Malawi Auditor General’s report of the government for the year ended June 30, 2019 show that the Malawi Electoral Commission failed to account for over K493,000,000.00 (US$ 672,000) that the commission headed by Jane Ansah received from candidates during the May 2019 Tripartite elections.

“An inspection of nomination fee records, general receipt books, bank deposits and the general control as regards to revenue custody revealed that the nomination fees worth K493,950,600 which was collected and deposited during the period under review had no corresponding general receipts such that completion of the reported revenue could not be ascertained,” reads part of the report signed by Thomas Makiwa the Acting Auditor General.

The lax handling of public funds by the MEC has angered many members of the public as well as other various stakeholders including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament who have reiterated their call for tougher administrative measures and criminal prosecution where necessary should be taken on officers who fail to account for how public funds are used.

Last year, aspiring Independent Presidential Candidate Ras Chikomeni David Chirwa complained that the nomination fees charged by the electoral commission were too high and unconstitutional because they effectively barred poor Malawians from contesting for the highest political office. While he could not be reached immediately for his comment, the recent report from the Auditor General should be worrisome for him and others who contested in the elections.

In total, the MEC failed to account for funds amounting to K1.5 billion (US$ 2,040,816) in 2019 which it had either received as revenue or spent. The Auditor General’s report also shows that the electoral body procured various items without any supporting delivery documents.

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