Attorney General stop order on $500-million mega Lake Malawi water project stands, Parliament told

Lilongwe Water Board general manager Alfonso Chikuni has told parliament that  former Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale’s expert legal advise  to halt any activities surrounding the mega water project, the Lake Malawi Water Project still stands.

Alfonso Chikuni CEO of LWB: Stop order still stands

Chikuni said this on Wednesday when he faced a joint parliamentary committee on Public Accounts Committee; Agriculture, Irrigation and Water and Budget and Finance Committee.

He said in view of the stop order, all activities relating to the project were stopped, saying this was why there had been delays in the implementation of the project.

“We have asked that we should do some activities and we have just been given a go ahead,” said Chikuni.

Chikuni said they delayed to undertake an environment impact assessment (EIA) because it was waiting for feasibility study report.

“People need responses on the EIA. There is nowhere at ceratin point where the response will be positive if we do not carry the  EUA itself. It can only be carried out after the feasibility study is done adn thus the report will be finalised [Wednesday] and only after that, then we carr out EIA,” said Chikuni.

He told the parliamentarians that the exact cost of the project is US$435 million and the Chinese will be some of the financiers of the country’s largest water project ever.

The project entails pumping water from Lake Malawi, raising the water to a reasonable height, then pump them into a 1.2 diametre pipes and pushing them for a distance of 120 kilometres from Salima to Lilongwe.

Chikuni also said the World Bank pulled out of the Dimphwe dam project in Dedza because they were not happy to exhume and rebury dead bodies from 19 grave yards.

He said Lilongwe Water Board is in the process of securing a loan of US$25 million for compensation of the people whose land would be taken by the dam project.

The general manager said the government would now restart the project all over again and is in the process of finding new investors.

The project entails a steel pipeline that stretches over 130 km and will have three big pump stations to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in the flow of water to the capital. It also features a water treatment plant and three reservoirs in Lilongwe.

Khato Civils of Malawian billionaire based in South Africa Simbi Phiri, has invested in two cutting-edge Tesmec Trenchers able to dig 2km per day of trenches for laying pipes. Each of the Tesmec Trenchers is worth about $2-million (R26-million) each.

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