While millions of Malawians were mourning the death of their President Bingu wa Mutharika, some insatiable individuals were busy celebrating his death as to them the tragedy was their opening to enrich themselves wrongly.
Last week Nyasa Times first reported how some bosses at the public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), enriched themselves through huge sums of allowances they claimed in the name of Mutharika’s funeral but never worked for it.
Top on the tax payers’ embezzling scheme was Hamilton Chimala, Station Manager for MBC Radio 1, who collected a whooping K180 000 in allowances and fuel (separately) on the pretext that he was traveling to Lilongwe and Mzuzu respectively where MBC was covering live the public viewing of Mutharika’s body.
He never travelled there to work and instead, as a cover up, went to Lilongwe for one day and returned back to his base, Blantyre, but the money was not paid back to MBC coffers, an already financially squeezed parastatal.
And now Nyasa Times has uncovered another scam at the Blantyre City Council (BCC) where directors and their deputies pocketed their monthly fuel allocation worth thousands of kwacha when in actual fact they were given free fuel by government to be used during Mutharika’s funeral.
Our investigations have revealed that all directors and their deputies (management team) at the council are entitled to K189 000 fuel allowance every month. BCC deposits the money direct into their bank accounts.
However, since government officially announced the death of Mutharika on April 7, all their vehicles were drafted into the funeral programme and subsequently changed number plates to SF (State Funeral).
Every vehicle- with SF number plate- that was on the funeral programme across the country was using free fuel provided by government from the day government announced the death until burial but reports indicate some selected vehicles will continue bearing the SF number plates because “they are still carrying out some tasks related to the funeral.”
“These people [BCC management team] were given vouchers for free fuel to use during the entire funeral programme and yet they still collected fuel allowances from the council. That is daylight stealing because it means they are receiving double allowances for a single job.
“That money is meant to buy for fuel to use in the course of their work but we wonder why they are drawing the allowances when they already have fuel, they must pay back that money,” an angry source from the BCC accounts section told Nyasa Times.
The source said about 20 BCC vehicles were on funeral programme and during the entire programme they were not allowed to refuel the council fuel.
“Drivers of all the BCC vehicles that were on the programme were strictly told not to replenish the council’s fuel because they had their own but surprisingly the bosses pocketed the fuel allowances and yet they also had the same free fuel,” explained.
According to our investigations, the fuel allowances were given to the people on Friday, April13, the same day their vehicles were put on the list of beneficiaries of free government fuel.
The source revealed that on average BCC spends over K2million on fuel allowances for the chief executive officer, directors and deputy directors and more than K5million on all departmental vehicles every month.
“And that means the council could have saved over K2million or thereabout this month which could have been channeled to other vital activities, for instance, refuse collection or rehabilitation of markets or feeder roads,” observed the source.
When Nyasa Times contacted BCC Director of Administrative Services Alfred Chanza for clarification as to why they drew the fuel allowances when they were already provided with government vouchers for free fuel he immediately cut the line after the subject was introduced.
He then ignored the subsequent calls after several attempts.
The Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ted Nandolo was reportedly out of office and his mobile phone could not be reached when dialled.
BCC is one of the government institutions that have deep rooted corruption from top to bottom when the one million plus residents of the city continue complaining of rotten services such as poor road network, sanitation in locations and market places and compromised security.
Recently, Nyasa Times revealed that all heads of the seven departments at the council but one which include administration, treasury, health and cleansing, town planning, parks, recreation and environment, engineering and commerce come from the Lhomwe belt- Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe.
The departed Malawian president hailed from Kamoto village in the area of TA Chimaliro in Thyolo District where he was buried on April 23. He died on April 5 at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe after suffering from a cardiac arrest.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :