Abuses at Ntchisi water scheme – concerned citizens

Three individuals calling themselves “Concerned Citizens”—Khlovi Banda, Jamison Kalipinde and Janet Chisonga—have written the Central Region Water Board to express displeasure at the way the Ntchisi Scheme is being run, alleging corruption, fraud and mismanagement.

In the letter dated January 21, 2012, the ‘Concerned Citizens’ inform the Central Region Water Board that for a long time Ntchisi Scheme has been neglected in many areas.

“Human resource that has been deployed to the Scheme falls outside the bounds of qualification. It makes us wonder at seeing the Scheme managed by someone whose credentials stand questionable.

Women return from fetching water after the supply in their homes was cut off during the water rationing. Credit:Charles Mpaka/IPS

“The Scheme is headed by a person whose papers cannot stand to the litmus test. Much as we understand that the person at the helm of Ntchisi (Mr. Gobede) is just an ‘Acting Manager’ but this position should not be left to a person who hardly has interpersonal skills,” reads in part the letter, sourced by Nyasa Times.

In another allegation, the ‘Concerned Citizens’ claim since there is no official car, the “hired” car that the Ntchisi uses to ferry the Cashier to and from the bank “is the same”, raising suspicion of corruption.

They allege that this is in contravention to Head Office recommendation to solicit different cars with different quotations, adding the Head office requires that the tender be advertised “so that different bidders can pope up but this, on the ground, does not happen, here, at Ntchisi”.

“If it is done then Mr. Gobede creates bogus names and quotations of bidders so that the same bidder wins the contract for that period. This kind of fraud is necessitated by the Zone Accountant,” the letter alleges.

On service delivery, the ‘Concerned Citizens’ claim that many customers go without water for “a week” and that other parts have completely run dry, wondering whether the issue is about incapacity of machines to pump “for all the customers”.

“This erratic water supply poses the lives of many people at risk as they resort to drinking water from unprotected sources,” the letter says.

The ‘Concerned Citizens’ also faults the Ntchisi Scheme on water connection for new clients, claiming some applicants spend unbearably long time before they have water connected, alleging cases of “bias” by the manager.

Another complaint, relate to the lack of a professional cashier and that the cashier who was “dispatched” some months ago is viewed a s a threat to the other officers who see her with an “evil eye” on the basis of her advanced education.

“Mr. Gobede, who is the Acting Manager, is of no importance in accordance with our observation because we expected him to iron out the misunderstanding but to our surprise he is the catalyst. Therefore, we see him lacking leadership skills as his position requires,” the ‘Concerned Citizens allege, claiming that the manager is working hard in collaboration with the Zone Accountant, a Mr. P.L. Kauteka to replace the cashier with a Mr. Pingeni, who is allegedly under qualified.

The ‘Concerned Citizens’ also alleged there are also abuses of Petty Cash, saying most of the vouchers are bogus and that petty cash is not accounted for.

“All these concerns have enormously spurred on us to spit the bile as Desmond Tutu said ‘if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,’” the letter says.

It concludes: “It is our belief that these concerns we have brought to light will be given due consideration. We all know, with the use of natural reason, that conducive environment is a prerogative for effective delivery of one`s services. It is also our responsibility to denounce any acts of corruption taking place in our midst so that our society develops in all aspects”.

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