The Public Service Reforms which is being initiated by the Malawi government are being frustrated by the people who are in institutions like Plant and Vehicle Hire and Engineering Services (PVHES) formerly known as PVHO, who are deliberately ignoring management and finance control initiatives that are aimed at bringing sanity to the rundown organization, Nyasa Times has established.
An official from Regional PVHES South confided to Nyasa Times that there is a syndicate of officers led by the Deputy Director of PVHES Elson Katambo and the Chief Accountant a Mr. Luwanika who is involved in underhand tactics siphoning the organization.
The official – who cannot be named for fear of his reprisals – said PVHES is reeling from huge debts and has been sued by suppliers of goods and services who are not being paid with debts dating back from 2011 and the syndicate is instead paying some companies whose services are questionable.
“It is surprising that companies which deserve to be paid are ignored and preference is given to organizations which these unscrupulous officers have vested interests. Katambo and Luwanika conspire to pay companies which have not verified by auditors as creditors and in return get kickbacks,” said the source.
He said that companies like Vita Electrical and Delco Traders have been victimized and owed millions of money which is also accruing interests and have been deliberately ignored despite the fact that finances have been generated.
Vita Electrical is owed in excess of K32 million and Delco Traders is also owed K32.5 million after they supplied plant spare parts and electrical parts respectively and the syndicate has chosen to pay companies such as Mikaways Traders and Millie Traders where they have vested interest.
Speaking in an interview Victor Nyirongo owner of Vita Electrical admitted that PVHES indeed owed him millions after his company supplied the organization with electrical spare parts dating back from 2011 and have been playing hide and seek until he decided to take the organization to court which ruled in his favour that he should be paid with interest.
“Indeed PVHES owes me money dating back from 2011 and they have not been forthcoming with payment yet I am told they have been paying other companies who supplied goods after I had already supplied them,” said Nyirongo.
Another supplier Justin Thindwa of Delco Traders also corroborated that PVHES also owes him in excess of K32million which has chocked his business as he failing to pay his suppliers in England who are now no longer giving him spare parts.
“We have been supplying PVHES with Caterpillar spare parts which I order from England dating back from 2013 and I decided to take them to court. However, they decided for an out of court settlement and promised to pay in installments which they started doing but as of now they stopped paying me. This has negatively affected my business because I am failing to pay my suppliers,” lamented Thindwa.
Nyasa Times source revealed that Katambo and his accomplices have been giving post dated cheques to companies like Mikaways Traders and Millie Trading and inform them in advance whenever the organization has generated money upon which these suppliers go and cash out immediately leaving the organization with nothing.
According to the official familiar with the swindle, the syndicate led by Katambo has been with PVHES for a very long time as such they regard themselves as the owners of the organization and sometimes they even conspire to remove the head of the organization so that they continue with their malpractices.
“We have situations where management and finance controls initiatives to bring sanity is negatively viewed and frustrated,” said the source.
He said the irony of the whole situation is that the Director who is the head of the organization has been craftily sidelined in the processing of such transactions including the implementation of posting instructions of certain officers.
“The propensity of undermining the Director by the Deputy Director and his inner circle has been going on for a long time. The immediate past Director Simon Namuthuwa also faced the same fate,” said the source
The source said the system of frustrating Directors has been going on for a very long time to the extent that the Director is a signatory to the organizations cheques.
“The syndicate has completely suffocated Regional offices by not funding them despite the Directors instructions to empower these offices to be functioning as operational centers. The syndicate is deliberately frustrating and sidelining the newly posted Director so that the organizational reforms that have been initiated should not succeed for their own ulterior motives and therefore the Public Service Reforms being pursued by government run the risk of failure if such individuals are allowed to continue to manipulate the government system,” said the another source.
The newly appointed Director Jommo Mkandawire acknowledged that he is facing organizational challenges particularly relating to the issues and he has since presented the matter to the Secretary for Transport for his support in dealing with theses malpractices as it involves senior officers.
“I will not relent until sanity is brought back to the organization. There is potential for improving the situation In PVHES and I am now focusing on the recapitalization initiative that government has sanctioned,” said a visibly frustrated Director.
Government gave instructions that the Headquarters of PVHSE should be in Lilongwe but the syndicate led by the deputy director insists that it should remain in Blantyre to obscure their activities from the Director.
The Director is currently based in Lilongwe where he attends to various government assignments and this has given the syndicate a leeway to be carrying out their clandestine activities which are ripping off the organizations.
Press reports also show that Ministry of Information flouted laid down procedures when it sent five Landrovers for repairs at a private motor car dealer in the year 2000.
Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament has ordred ministry 14 days to bring back the vehicles. Government has already paid K14, 348, 911, 85 for the works but it has still not been established why City Motors is still clinging on to the vehicles.
PVHO was established in 1971 under section 17 of the Finance and Audit Act Cap 37:01 to provide public and private sector institutions with plant and vehicles for hire.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :