Saturday, 12 October 2013

Opening address for orientation of Assistant Internal Auditors by Comm Mezuwa Banda

·   My fellow Commissioners 
·        The Chief Elections Officer for MEC, Mr Willie Kalonga
·        Management and staff from the Commission secretariat
·        Our Assistant Internal Auditors who have just been recruited
·        Members of the Press
·        Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to welcome you to this induction session for Assistant Internal Auditors who have just been recruited.
Comm. Rev Maxwell Mezuwa Banda
Chairperson, Audit Committee

I am happy and honored to be here today and witness this occasion because this is a significant milestone for the Commission in as far as enhancement of corporate governance and internal control environment is concerned.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, before I go further allow me, on behalf of the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Maxon Mbendera Sc; my fellow Commissioners; members of the Audit Committee, and indeed on my own behalf, to congratulate all who have been recruited as Assistant Internal Auditors. It is not a mean achievement considering that to get this vacancy it was a strenuous and competitive process. The post was advertised and there was stiff competition. What am I trying to say, there were many people who applied and the fact that you made it, it gives you all the reasons to thank God. In addition it should be known that it is a vote of confidence that MEC has trust in you that you can contribute to the delivery of the 2014 tripartite elections.

It is a privilege and honour for you to serve our nation in the capacity you have just been appointed to.  I hope you understand this appointment and I would like to encourage you to deliver in pursuit of this noble cause of delivering elections.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Commission is committed to accountability, prudence and transparency in its operations. Since we use public and donor money we are accountable to the government, donor partners and indeed the general public. It is due to this spirit that a decision was made to employ you to ensure success in these areas. I believe we have employed the right people.

If anything to the contrary happens, the obvious question that any reasonable person would ask is “where were the auditors when this was happening?’ meaning where were you when that unfortunate incident happened? We do not want to find ourselves in that kind of awkward situation. I, therefore, would like to urge you to be professional and vigilant in performing your duties.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we prepare for the elections next year various stakeholders have their varying interests in MEC. Apart from expecting MEC to deliver a credible election, some are also keenly watching how MEC will manage finances. Your position is, therefore, very crucial. We do not want to find our self in a situation where we have to answer audit queries on obvious matters.

I am aware that in most of these cases it has not been that money has been mismanaged, swindled, embezzled, stolen, siphoned  or misappropriated but that maybe procedures were not followed or documentation was not properly handled. I urge you to be vigilant and ensure that all policies, procedures and standards are followed. Some of the issues that have given MEC a negative public image as far as financial management is concerned were because supporting documents were missing and that there were short cuts to procedures. We have taken so many internal reforms to avoid a recurrence of this and your engagement is just one of that. Other steps that we have taken are:
·        Establishment of the Audit Committee: The current Commission established the Audit Committee and the main responsibility of this committee is to oversee the work of the Internal Audit Department, external auditors, risk management and corporate governance affairs in general. Before the establishment of the Audit Committee, these issues fell under the mandate of Finance and Administration Committee, a set up that compromised independence.
·        An independent review of the audit department, courtesy of our donor partners, in order to come up with the best reporting structure, terms of reference, preferred talent and skills among other issues. We hope to finalise this exercise by April 2014. It is expected that after this review, a new structure will be formed that will have more positions.
·        The Commission has opted to have independent external auditors from the private sector to complement the usual review performed by the National Audit Office. It should be appreciated that much as the National Audit Office has the mandate to audit all government and public institutions, its capacity and resources are limited and this compromises efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. Just to give you an example, currently we are in the process of finalizing an audit review by the National Audit Office covering four financial years from 2008/2009 to 2011/2012. I am sure you can agree with me that this should have been done much earlier.

Ladies and gentlemen, all these initiatives have been done to demonstrate our commitment to best practice in corporate governance.
I would also like to remind you to uphold integrity, objectivity, independence, diligence, ethics and values in perception and fact during your employment with the Commission. As employees of the Commission you are supposed to exercise utmost impartiality so as to maintain the confidence that the stakeholders have in the Commission.

Furthermore it is expected of you all to quickly settle down and understand the culture of the MEC  as an organisation. You will be expected to respect the culture while contributing to its growth where necessary.

You are a team that will enhance the evolving department. Your working as a team amongst yourselves on one hand and the old members of staff on the other will no doubt go a long way in producing the desired results. I, therefore, commend you to the good Lord to bless you and use you as building blocks for a strong Internal Audit Department, within the MEC.
With these remarks, I declare this induction course opened. 

I thank you for your attention and may God bless you and our beloved nation.   

No comments:

Post a Comment