New cashgate: Malawi govt ministries using inflated figures in vehicle maintenance

Millions of public money is going down the drain in bogus vehicle maintenance of unserviceable and uneconomic vehicles by various ministries and departments in what some sources at Capital Hill has described as another form of “Cashgate” which is benefitting officers on one hand and dubious private garages on the other while ripping off the taxpayer.

Msowoya: There is grain of truth

Msowoya: There is grain of truth

An investigation by Nyasa Times has unravelled this malpractice to be common in almost all government ministries and departments especially those who own large fleets of vehicles like Health and Education ministries.

Random visits to various private garages in Biwi Triangle, Malangalanga, Kawale and other place in the Capital Lilongwe revealed that a lot of government vehicles have been lying idle in these garages for very long periods of time which makes it possible for these to be used as a conduit of siphoning taxpayers money.

This development also comes hot on the heels of the recent order by Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) who have directed that PVHO should constitute a Board of Survey for all government plant and vehicles which is aimed at boarding off all outmoded vehicles which are uneconomic to run thereby causing a drain on public resources.

Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya confessed that this revelation may not be far from the truth because the budget line that incorporate vehicles maintenance is difficult to manage by its very nature.

According to Nyasa Times sources at Capital Hill said most government ministries send vehicles and plants in private garages like Biwi Triangle, Malangalanga, Kawale and other places where on paper they go for routine maintenance when in actual sense this is used as a means of siphoning government money.

“Government officers connive with these unscrupulous private garage owners to inflate invoices which government ministries duly honour these bills. But in actual sense some of these vehicles are either lying idle at Capital Hill or in these garages and no service never took place. This is just another form of ‘Cashgate’, “our source said in an interview.

The source said government is losing huge sums of money in this manner amounting to millions each and every month especially in ministries who have large fleets of vehicles like Health, Education, and Public Works.

Treasury spokesperson admitted this is very possible because of the way Treasury funds maintenance of vehicles budget line.

“You may wish to know that the budget line that incorporates vehicle maintenance in the budget document is called Travel budget. This includes hotel charges for officers travelling outside their duty station, subsistence allowances, fuel and lubricants and the vehicle maintenance itself. Such being the case it is difficult to quantify how much money goes into vehicle maintenance specifically,” said Msowoya.

He further confessed that it is a difficult budget line to manage as such the allegations being made may be true because as Treasury they have for a long time noticed that vehicle maintenance bills in most ministries are alarming and amounts to millions of Kwacha every month.

Said Msowoya:”If you remember during the reign of President Bingu wa Mutharika government made a decision that all government vehicles should be maintained at PVHO as a means of managing this elusive budget line. However, this never really materialised. That why private garages are still used today. You may also wish to know that dealers like Toyota Malawi, CFAO and other dealers their bills are also on the higher side.”

However, officials say the procedure for maintaining government vehicles is that they should go to PVHO for inspection who will in turn recommend that indeed they should go for maintenance and they are given a go ahead.

It is also a requirement that when they return from maintenance they should also go back to PVHO for re-inspection to verify whether indeed they have been serviced and maintained properly but this is ignored by ministries because they are afraid that this malpractice will be discovered.

The source further revealed that on the order by OPC, some few ministries are complying while most are resisting for fear of being discovered on how they have been siphoning public resources.

“With the current status quo Public Service Reform will remain just an illusion to be pursued but never attained. PVHO has been reduced to a dormant and dumping yard for unproductive personnel there is not work to do. Suffice to say that the order by OPC will give some work to PVHO in removing all government vehicles which are being used as a conduit of siphoning public resources,” said our Capital Hill source.

He further said once PVHO finishes inspecting and getting rid of all these out and uneconomic plant and vehicles which will in turn be auctioned, government may realise about K200million which may go a long way to help boost government revenue in the wake of the “zero aid budget’.

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Mapuyamurupare
Guest

Mtumbuka sangalamulire MuYao or Mlomwe Ngakhale Mchewa.
Mtumbuka ndi wautsiru kwambiri. Mtumbuka ndiwasankho kwambiri. Alibe mzeru.
Just go to NGOs like save the children and MSH zinthu sizimayenda chifukwa cha
atumbuka. Mmalo mogwira ntchito amangokhalirira miseche kukamba za anzao
kuti agwe cholinga alowesepo wakwithu. Panyeropanu ndithu.

Chief
Guest

It is only the Mighty M.C.P and CHAKWERA who can run this country without corruption.

kennedy jailos
Guest

koma ya zilipo nkhani pamalawi

Phirilamatiya
Guest
Nanunsotu a Life, it seems you were once an officer who were assighned to do procurement work temporarily and you were doing this malprctice but you were removed. How can a PO do this. I thought there are IPCs who check these before payment is done? Mwangodana nawo ma PO basi. Nkhani yofunika ndi yoti ma vehicles should go to PVHO b4 and after services. Komanso ku PVHO komweko ndi komwe kuli chisawawa. Eni ake a magarage ndi omwewonso a ku PVHOwo. Eni a magarage amagwirizana ndi a PVHO staff as if the vehicle has been serviced. And most of… Read more »
Mwendanato
Guest
When Bingu just came to power he said it that he is surprised that government had a large fleet of vehicles than it required and promised to reduce it to the right amount it required and bold off all unrequired vehicles. I dont know why this skipped his mind but he also resurrected the idea to revamp PVHO but it did not materialise since the lady who took over was cheaky. Indeed PVHO must be fully revamped to do its job. So it either at the vehicle dealers from which governmnent buys or PVHO just in the same manner the… Read more »
PHODO
Guest

pvho should be back in tract to avoid more maintenance gate

Daud Zakaria
Guest
Solutions for Malawi problem in governance in general will come only from Malawians.Government with the involvement of all stakeholders including all private sectors with good understanding of people’s welfare must come up with a document,politically unbiased that will outline procedures of procurement,national development strategy,land reforms,foreign policy,primary health care,all economic attainment activities that will lead to real national self reliance,having in mind agricultural and mining development.This document should be properly prepared and endorsed by parliament as a guideline for any government that will come in power to ensure continuity.All government arms,that is courts,parliament and the executive must actively take a leading… Read more »
Kalikokha
Guest

Government would sleep easy if they could just negotiate a discounted maintenance plan for every new vehicle bought from dealers. It may look steep initially but very economical in the long term as various prices are fixed at the outset.

KAYIRA
Guest

Big culplits of this malpractice are:
1. Irrigation Department
2. Water Department
3. Ministry of Health
4. Ministry of Education
5. All District Councils

VYOTO
Guest
ALL THIS MALPRATICE BOILS DOWN TO THE SLEEPINESS OF THE AUDITORS AT NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE AND THE INTERNAL AUDITORS IN THE GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES AND DEPARTMENTS.THIS MALPRACTICE IS ONE OF THOSE VERY OBVIOUS THINGS THAT A RESPONSIBLE AND COMPETENT AUDITOR BE IT EXTERNAL OR INTERNAL WOULD BE LOOKING FOR.THE ISSUE OF INFLATION OF INVOICES IN GOVERNMENT IS NOT ONLY LIMITED TO MAINTENANNCE BILLS BUT EXTENDS TO MOST PAYMENTS TO SUPPLIERS OF GOODS AND SERVICES.THERE ARE SOME SUPPLIERS WHO ARE VERY RICH TODAY BECAUSE OF BEING PAID BY GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES AND DEPARTMENTS FOR EITHER NO DELIVERY AT ALL OR UNDER DELIVERY OF… Read more »
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