By Malawi Exclusive
Some members of the Board of Export Development (EDF), a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) face arrest following revelations about corruption, gross abuse of office and public resources by the Board Chairman, Mr Neil Nyirongo, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Gerald Nsomba, Company Secretary, Mrs Agnes Sentala, and Mr Tim De Borde.
Information sourced from Anti Corruption Bureau Report and inside source at area 3 police in Lilongwe indicate that warrants of arrest are currently being processed for the stated Board members and bogus auditors Fletcher and Evance.
The formal communication to ACB on the matter seen by our reporters states that between September 2021 and December 2021, the three members of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) hand-picked Mr Handsome M’bwana styled as Fletcher and Evance who is not registered as an Audit Firm in Malawi and also not licensed by the Regulator, Malawi Accountants Board (MAB) to provide auditing services in Malawi, to conduct forensic audit only on selected transactions, instead of all the transactions EDF undertook during the review period from 2017 and 2020, without following a competitive bid process as required by the EDF procurement procedures. EDF is a public institution and follows the provisions of the Public Procurement Act as well as Public Finance Management Act.
Without regard to the irregularities explained above, Fletcher and Evance was suspiciously paid the sum of K25 million, tax payers’ money, by the Fund as audit fees.
In addition, between July 2020 to date two members of the Board of Directors of Export Development Fund (EDF) namely; Mr Neil Nyirongo, Board Chairman and Mrs Agnes Sentala, Board Secretary have been taking unentitled fringe benefits, without even deducting income tax, from EDF on monthly basis comprising airtime and fuel contrary to the guidelines of benefits for the Board of Directors of EDF approved by the Shareholders meeting, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the years 2018, 2019 and even 2020 in the history of the Fund. According to the EDF conditions of service, only members of staff are entitled to such taxable fringe benefits. In addition, we are convinced that it is not lawfully acceptable for Mrs Agnes Sentala as a salaried employee of the Reserve Bank of Malawi to be taking fringe benefits from both the Reserve Bank and its subsidiary Export Development Fund.
Without regard to gross abuse of office and conflict of interest, a member of the Board of Directors, Mr Tim De Borde was also given a commercial contract to sell agricultural commodity on behalf of the EDF comprising sugar beans and white haricot beans notwithstanding that there were indigenous Malawians that submitted a bid at the same time to buy the commodity for export markets. Mr Tim De Borde has since received the sum of K20 million as sales commission also without deducting income tax for grading and selling the commodity.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been requested to investigate on behalf of Malawians and take appropriate action against these acts of executive fraud and gross abuse of office and resources practiced by Members of the Board of Directors of EDF and the CEO. How the Members of the Board hand-picked Fletcher and Evance who is not registered as an Audit Firm in Malawi and also not licensed and certified by the Regulator, MAB to provide auditing services in the country, to conduct audit at EDF without following a competitive bid process as required by the EDF procurement procedures and contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act is a mystery. How the members of the Board also have been taking tax free unentitled fringe benefits contrary to the guidelines of benefits for the Board of Directors of EDF and without the approval of the AGM is a mystery.
ACB has also been specifically requested to investigate Mr Tim De Borde, a member of the Board of Directors of the EDF for gross conflict of interest. It is believed that Mr Tim De Borde obtained unfair advantage in form of the tax free sales commission amounting to about K20 million he has taken over many other qualifying Malawians who were equally able to buy the commodity, sell to their export markets and earn a living.