ACB lifts restriction on Phalombe Hospital equipment procurement: Never rules out corruption

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has lifted the restriction order it issued in February this year stopping the Ministry of Health from effecting any contract to supply equipment for the construction of new Phalombe District Hospital.

Proposed New Phalombe District Hospital

ACB issued the order on 16th February following reports that procurement procedures were flouted.

The hospital is being constructed with resources financed under Loan No 594/3 from Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Saudi Fund.

The Bureau’s Senior Public Relations Officer (PRO), Egrita Ndala said the order was related to the manner in which the tender advertisement was made.

“The advertisement had made specific references to a brand of medical equipment rather than generic specification which would have encouraged participation from wider base of suppliers, creating a competitive bidding process for the benefit of the people of Malawi in getting value for money,” explained Ndala in a statement issued out on Monday.

Ndala said the Bureau and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) engaged the Ministry of Health to find out why procurement procedures in the said project were not followed.

“It was discovered through the meetings that the financiers of the project, have their own procurement procedures which the Ministry is following in the procurement of equipment and for reasons related to control and management of maintenance and training costs, the Ministry had to specify preferred brands for some of the equipment in line with existing equipment inventory brands.”

ACB and CFTC have therefore, on an exceptional basis allowed the process to continue following the exceptional legitimate reasons given in this project.

But Ndala said the Bureau would not rule out instituting investigations on potential corruption allegations should information suggest otherwise.

“The ACB has therefore, accordingly, lifted the restriction order it had issued. It must however be clear that this does not suggest that the ACB has cleared the contract of any potential corruption allegations and it reserves its right to institute a full investigation,” she added.

Government has faced criticism over the delay to construct the hospital despite Parliament approving its funding some years ago.

 

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