Malawi Law Society (MLS) has expressed doubt that members of the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament have the capacity and skills to conduct an investigation into the alleged fraud at the Malawi Embassy in Kenya.
The committee is waiting for authority from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to fly to Kenya to conduct investigations into alleged theft at the Malawi mission in Nairobi where billions of kwacha are said to have been stolen in dubious business deals.
MLS president, Khumbo Soko, said although the law allows parliamentary committee to conduct such investigations, other institutions such as Fiscal Police and Anti-Corruption Bureau are better placed to conduct such investigations.
“The law gives Parliament broad powers. They can call anyone, subpoena documents and punish anyone who does not comply during their investigations. However, the question is whether the committee has the ability and expertise to conduct such investigations. The ACB, or the Fiscal Police, for example, do the same things time and again and its officers are trained to conduct such investigations,” he said.
Soko said the problem with the professional investigating institutions like ACB is that sometimes they do not follow the evidence wherever it leads them to when some people are involved.
But Menyan i said the committee will go to Kenya because it was not satisfied with what the controlling officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told them during their meeting.
He said Public Audit Act gives his committee all the powers to provide the oversight role and conduct investigations where ever mismanagement of public funds is reported.
“We are just waiting for the Office of President and Cabinet for a go-ahead because we will go with officials from OPC. The government is also interested to know what happened to the money because we are talking about billions stolen over a long period of time,” he said.
Menyani said several companies in Kenya are looking forward to talking to the committee on dubious deals they made with the Malawi Embassy which were used to syphon the funds.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya also backed Pac flying to Kenya to conduct the investigations saying that is why the committee exists although the country also has institutions like ACB.