The National Bank of Malawi (NB) Chief Executive Officer, George Partridge is under the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation on allegations of collusive tendering and bid-rigging.
ACB has instituted the investigations following a Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) investigations in 2012 which faulted Partridge’s leadership at Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) of creating market monopoly by denying other players in the credit referencing bureau sector in preference to one company.
CFTC, in a determination by its Board of Commissioners and its members on allegations of anti-competitive practices by BAM chaired by Partridge at that time, also faulted the association of suspected collusive tendering and bid-rigging when it awarded a contract to CRB Africa Limited despite some of its members being shareholders.
ACB Senior Public Relations Officer, Egrita Ndala could not confirm or deny the investigation but pointed out that the bureau received a formal complaint on the issue.
“The bureau processes complaints when they have been received to see if there is merit to warrant the Bureau’s action. It is only when the complaint has been reviewed that the course of action to be taken is known,” explained Ndala.
In the 37-paged report which Nyasa Times has sourced, it is revealed that, CFTC disclosed that BAM has pre-existing credit reference scheme agreement with CRB Africa Limited to exclusively provide credit referencing services to its members, who in turn, would provide credit information of their customers.
The agreement is argued that is contrary to Section 32 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act, which faults the Association of creating a monopoly in the Credit referencing bureau sector by denying other credit referencing bureau players access to the market in preference to CRB Africa which some of its shareholders are executive members of BAM.
The Commission also established that the selection of CRB Africa was done through tender process and the Commission said there was likelihood of collusive tendering and bid-rigging which are anti-competitive practices in the bidding process after established facts of conflict of interest between BAM and CRB Africa which was eventually awarded the contract.
The Commission notes that aside the established anti-competitive practices, some key players in BAM including Partridge happens to be shareholders in Investment Alliance Limited (Malawi), which holds 10 percent shares in CRB Africa.