As the nation grapples over the discoveries around the financial mess at Capital Hill, the National Association for Suppliers of Stationery and Office equipment (NASSO) has come out blaming the procurement system in government which it says allows civil servants to operate business as a source for plundering taxpayers money.
In the same manner of laxity in government systems and structures, the statement points at government procurement procedures as the weak point. The body is gunning for an audience with President Banda in a bid to have the loopholes sealed.
The NASSO statement – issued by its chairperson Baxter Kitha – describes the Centralized Procurement Policy is very expensive and deprives government of the needed revenue in taxes and harbours corruption in the sense that only a few individuals are entrusted with managing procurement without proper monitoring mechanisms leaving prone to corrupt practices.
The centralized procurement policy entails that government departments gets their supplies from the Government Stores but procurement committees have resorted in registering their own companies and accredited them in the system to supply their offices.
“Government will need to have lump sum of resources to procure these items in this hard economic time. This is unlike other systems where individual departments are supplied on demand various items often times on credit,” said the statement.
A high ranking source in NASSO said there is conflict of interest when the very servants that are supplying government with stationery should also be in the internal procurement committee scrutinizing potential suppliers.
“How can a procurement committee be impartial when they are actually evaluating their own businesses in the procurement process,” said the committee member of NASSO.
Investigations by NyasaTimes reveal that in year alone civil servants have awarded to themselves billions of kwachas in contract to supply stationery to government stores.
In a strange case of unfair competition a one of the stationery and office supply firms belonging to a civil servant at working for the ministry of foreign affairs is said to have been awarded a contract worth Malawi kwacha 1.8 billion.
The same civil servant was also awarded a contract worth 1.4 billion for supply of various equipment.
In another contract a civil servant in the ministry of education had is said to have benefitted from his fellow civil servants a whooping Malawi kwacha 2.2 billion worth of a contract.
NASSO’s call to meet the president comes on the back of MCP and DPP leadership calls for the return of the president from USA to deal with the current developments.
This week has also seen the vice President being grilled over the events surrounding the “ cash-gate” scandal with various donor agencies and diplomatic missions expressing their concerns.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :