1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Purpose of this Act


   4.   Auditor General

   5.   Appointment, qualifications, tenure, removal and salary of the Auditor General

   6.   Duties of the Auditor General

   7.   Powers of the Auditor General

   8.   Power to summon

   9.   No civil liability

   10.   Contracting out audits and purchasing services

   11.   Conduct of audits

   12.   Incompatible functions

   13.   Procedures


   14.   Reporting

   15.   Annual reports

   16.   Auditor General may communicate with the President and others

   17.   Budget support


   18.   Purposes and objectives

   19.   Functions of the Committee

   20.   Powers of the Committee

   21.   Sittings to be in public except in certain cases

   22.   Evidence before the Committee

   23.   Reports of the Committee

   24.   Assistance generally


   25.   Confidentiality

   26.   Reference to relevant Bills

   27.   Fees for audits

   28.   External audit

   29.   Offences

   30.   Regulations

   31.   Transitional

   32.   Repeal and savings

6 of 2003
G.N. 44/2003

An Act to reform the law relating to Public Audit

[8TH JULY 2003]


1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Public Audit Act.

2.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   “agency” includes an office or instrument of the Government, other than a Ministry, Government Department or statutory body;

   “Appropriation Act” means an Act of Parliament the principal purpose of which is the application of public moneys for such goods and services as are specified in the Act;

   “Auditor General” means the person appointed as Auditor General under section 184 (3) of the Constitution and this Act, and is head of the National Audit Office;

   “books and accounts” or “books or accounts” includes all books, accounts, rolls, files, vouchers, receipts, cheques, records, registers, papers, documents, photographic plates, microfilms, photo-static negatives, prints, tapes, disks, computer reels, diskettes and hard disk, perforated rolls, and any other type of written or electronic record whatsoever, and also includes all papers and other records relating to accounting operations and practice;

   “Chairperson” means the Chairperson of the Committee;

   “Committee” means the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly referred to under Part IV;

   “Controlling Officer” means any person appointed by the President who is—

   (a)   the head or principal person in charge of a Ministry or Department; and

   (b)   charged with a duty to, or who actually does, collect, receive, disburse or deal in any way with any public money, or a person who is charged with the purchase, receipt, custody, or disposal of, or the accounting for, any public resources or public securities;

   “document” means a document in any form, and includes—

   (a)   any writing, printing or images on any material; or

   (b)   any information recorded or stored by means of any tape-recorder, computer, diskette, tape or other device, and any material subsequently derived from information so recorded or stored; or

   (c)   any label, marking, or other writing that identifies or describes anything of which it forms part, or to which it is attached by any means; or

   (d)   any book, map, plan, graph, or drawing; or

   (e)   any photograph, film, negative, tape, or other device in which one or more visual images are embodied so as to be capable (with or without the aid of some other equipment) of being reproduced;

   “Estimates” means the statement of the proposed public revenue and expenditure during any financial year, as approved by the National Assembly, through the passing of an Appropriation Act;

   “generally accepted auditing practice” means—

   (a)   approved auditing standards as determined by the international community, and in particular those promulgated by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions for application to the public sector and in so far as those standards apply in the application of this Act; and

   (b)   in relation to matters for which no provision is made in approved auditing standards, and which are not subject to any applicable rules of law, auditing policies, concepts or principles which may be regarded as appropriate in relation to the application of this Act and having the authoritative support of the auditing profession;

   “Government contract” means any contract concerning the use of public resources or for the supply of goods, services or the execution of any works in consideration of any payment of public money or any money, and includes any sub-contract made in relation to such contract, whether or not the contract or sub-contract has been wholly or partly performed or executed;

   “Ministry” means a Ministry of Government, and includes a Government Department, or branch or division within a Ministry or Department, whether established by a written law or otherwise;

   “National Assembly” means the National Assembly established under Part VI of the Constitution;

   “National Audit Office” means that part of the Office of the Auditor General charged with the responsibility of audit under this Act;

   “public expenditure” means the commitment or expenditure of public money, and includes—

   (a)   any loan obtained for or given by; or

   (b)   any public security provided to or by,

the Government, a Minister, Ministry or agency;

   “public money” means all money, other than trust money, received by the Government, including all revenue, grants, loans and other moneys, and all bonds, debentures, and any other securities received by, or on account of, or payable to, or belonging to, or deposited with the Government or any Ministry by—

   (a)   any officer of Government in his capacity as such; or

   (b)   any person on behalf of Government;

   “public resources” means all real and personal property that belongs to, or is owned or held, by the State or held by any Ministry, agency, statutory body or other person for and on behalf of the State or the Government, and includes long-term investment of the Government in statutory bodies;

   “statutory body” means any body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporated, other than the Reserve Bank of Malawi, established by any written law, and includes an Assembly established under the Local Government Act, and any corporation or a subsidiary of a corporation where the Government, directly or indirectly—

   (a)   controls the composition of any board of directors of the body; or

   (b)   controls more than 50 per cent of the voting power of the body; or

   (c)   holds more than 50 per cent of any of the issued share capital of the body either directly or through another agency or statutory body (excluding any part of it that carries no right to participate beyond a specific amount in a distribution of either profits or capital).

   (2) Where a document is held by a board, committee, subcommittee, or other body—

   (a)   which is established for the purpose of assisting or advising, or performing functions connected with any Minister, Ministry, agency or statutory body; and

   (b)   which is established in accordance with the provisions of any written law or by the Cabinet, a Minister, Ministry, agency or statutory body,

that document shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed—

      (i)   in any case where that body is established in respect of any Ministry, agency or statutory body, to be a document held by that Ministry, agency or statutory body; and

      (ii)   in any case where that body is established in respect of a Minister, to be a document held by that Minister.

   (3) Where subsection (2) applies in respect of any body and that body is established for the purpose of assisting, advising, or performing functions conducted with any Ministry, agency or statutory body, that body shall for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be part of that Ministry, agency or statutory body.

   (4) A document held by an officer or employee of a Ministry, agency or statutory body in his capacity as such, or in his capacity as a statutory officer shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be held by the Ministry, agency or statutory body of which he is an officer or employee or statutory office holder.

   (5) Any document held by any independent contractor engaged by any Minister, Ministry, agency or statutory body shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be held by the Minister, Ministry, agency or statutory body by whom the independent contractor is engaged.

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