Millions of money that was meant for the Malawi government coffers is going down the drain perpetrated by individual bosses at the Water and Irrigation Department who are hiring out high quality construction equipment at exorbitant prices to individual and some construction companies and the proceeds of the same goes to into personal pockets, Nyasa Times has established.
According to Nyasa Times source within Tikwere House which are the official offices of these department, the two Departments owns high quality equipment which includes Drilling Rigs, Water Bowsers, Water Pumps, Dozers, Excavators, Front-End loaders, Carriers, Rollers, Tippers and Dredgers among others which were donated by JICA when in fact the sole mandate of keeping such equipment belongs to PVHO.
These individuals hire ou equipment to private companies they in turn also sublease to other construction companies who are working on government projects. What this means is that government is losing out twice as much.
“The individuals and companies hires out at twice the rate that PVHO would hire out. Then these companies share the proceeds with the government officials,” said the source.
Nyasa Times source said that according to Section 30 (2)of the Public Finance Management Act stipulates : “There is hereby established the Public Finance Management (Plant and Vehicle Hire and Engineering Service Fund) PVHO hereinafter referred as the “Fund”) which shall be used for the purpose of acquiring fixed assets and working capital for the provision of general engineering services to government, private firms and individuals, including hiring and maintenance of machinery and vehicle on commercial basis and for no other purpose.”
“As you can see from the Public Finance Management Act the equipment in the Water and Irrigation Departments is wrongly placed and that is why it is being abused. For the equipment to be profitably utilized it should go to PVHO. What it means here is that there is conflict of governments Policy Direction. Why is PVHO in existence when these Departments own such high quality equipment? This is the reason why the proceeds from hiring out of the equipment is questionable,” queried the source.
Water and Irrigation Department spokesperson Mercy Jalazi admitted that it is indeed true that occasionary these equipment are hired out to individuals and construction companies who are charged based on prevailing PVHO rates.
“The proceeds of the same are deposited into Irrigation Trust Fund at the Reserve Bank of Malawi. The Department then writes RBM if there is need to utilize the resources,” said Jalazi.
However, at Tikwere House the Nyasa Times sourcessaid very little money is deposited into this fund because the rest is pocketed by individual bosses and a selected few officers who work hand in hand with them.
Water and Irrigation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is mandated to oversee the development and management of water and irrigation in the country and this entails that they champion the development of water related infrastructure such as dams, water harvesting structures, dykes, irrigation schemes.
“PVHO is deliberately being incapacitated for whatever reasons. Government policy gave the mandate to PVHO. Yes it is true some equipment is supposed to be used by these Departments but the core duty of PVHO is to take care of the equipment and maintaining. You may wish to know that the utilization of these equipments is not benefiting government and the same government shoulders the maintenance expenses,” said the source.
Jalazi also admitted that it is indeed true that the mandate of hiring out of such equipment rests with PVHO but that does not stop other government ministries owning various construction plants because of the nature of the service they provide..Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :