BDO slapped with MK4.8 million fine for unprofessionalism during May polls

election results from the national tally centre pictures by pemphero musowa

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi's (ICAM) disciplinary committee has found BDO Accountants to have conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner during nullified May 21st Tripartite elections.

The five charges against BDO accountants are; three for negligence, one for lack of professional competence and due care and another for misconduct.

The MK4.8 million is to be paid by 31st March. The company can appeal the verdict at the Malawi Accountants Board within 30 days.

The Chartered Accountants body was investigating of the firm after allegations of professional misconduct were leveled against it by the Malawi Congress Party and a concerned citizen whose name has been kept out of the media.

BDO appeared before the disciplinary committee on September 25th in 2019 where they were given a chance to explain themselves.

In its disciplinary verdict which is in possession of ICAM said BDO’s absence of the power to stop the transmission and processing of the results where any irregularities are noticed is a serious hinderance in the conduct of such a sensitive exercise of national importance.

It said lack of this power meant the outcome of the exercise was compromised because of any unresolved irregularities which are allowed to occur alongside the process of auditing the results.

“The absence of the power also erodes the much-needed independence of any auditor in such exercises. The report of the audit would hence be unreliable,” reads the verdict.

The firm is also faulted for aiding a foreign firm, BDO Jordan, to carry out a professional assignment without a special clearance from the Malawi Accountants Board (MAB) and without paying prescribed fees to the board.

BDO is on record to have not obtained reference for the junior auditors recruited for the assignment which ICAM president, Bwighane Joel said: “Employing auditors without reference means that there was always a chance for unfit or improper or insufficiently experienced junior auditors taking part in the said sensitive exercise of national importance, thereby reducing the quality of the work and its product.”

The firm has since survived one charge of failure to report to MAB of irregularities as ICAM found that BDO took the necessary steps to inform both Malawi Electoral Commission and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) about the irregularities the firm had found.