A wealthy Asian businessman Karamat Ullah Chaudhry faces arrest over investigations of the procurement of a new mobile laboratory fuel testing van by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).
Fiscal police have already arrested Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi and Bright Mbewe from Mera’s procurement department over the contract that relates to the procurement of a K700 million fuel testing van.
The energy sector regulator awarded the contract to City Motors .
However, it has emerged that on 7th May 2019, Mera paid City Motors MK563, 200,000.00 which translates into 80 percent as advance payment, contrary to Procurement Regulations to make advance payment in purchase of goods procured locally.
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has also asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to act on the matter.
Mera advertised for the procurement of a mobile fuel testing laboratory van. On 3rd April 2019, Mera entered into a contract with City Motors for the supply of the said laboratory van for the contract value of K704 million.
Almost a year later, on 17th April 2020, Mera paid MK140.8 million to City Motors translating to 20% of the contract sum.
But the mobile laboratory van was delivered to Mera in April 2020, a year after the contract was agreed. Furthermore, delivery was made almost a year after the 80 advance payment.
On 2nd March 2020, two MERA staff members, Bright Mbewe and Nelson Mandala, went to Johannesburg, South Africa, to inspect the laboratory van.
HRDC observes that there are several questions including why Mera dealt with City Motors (a middleman with no known expertise in fuel testing) when they could have procured directly and cheaply from suppliers.
“We also are surprised why MERA was involved with a South African dealer and not leave that to City Motors,” says the coalition.
It is also reported that the van did not come with the equipment as stipulated in the contract.
Furthermore, the contract indicated that the van would be an Iveco Daily Panel Van but what was delivered is a Mitsubitshi.
Nyasa Times understands that Chaudhry will be picked for questioning.
The law enforcing agencies are also keen to question Mera former board chairperson Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church on what role the board play did when there was massive plunder at the energy regulator during his tenure.
President Lazarus Chakwera has stressed that the nine-party Tonse Alliance administration he is leading will not shield any corrupt officials and emphasised that there will be transparency in procurement processes.
He also said he was aware that some unscrupulous businesspersons register business entities under different names to dominate and reduce chances of smaller bidders.
Chakwera, who paired UTM Party president and the then country’s estranged Vice-president Saulos Chilima in the presidential ticket, campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption, impunity and abuse of public resources.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :