Catholic governance arm, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has told parliament to swiftly investigate the K1.9 billion theft of fuel at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) meant for power generators which the government dubiously hired from South Africa.
CCJP national coordinator Boniface Chibwana said there was need for the vibrant Public Accounts Committee of parliament to investigate the matter along with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the police.
“This country is in a state of corruption. What has happened at Escom shows that corruption is now entrenched in government departments. This begs the question of whether there is need for the continued appointment of the boards and the top executive by the president,” said Chibwana.
He said experience has shown that the ruling party uses or corruption tactics to fund operations of its party with public money.
Chibwana therefore said the investigations at Escom were beyond the police, saying parliament through Public Accounts Committee and the ACB can work together to find out who was the real personalities behind the theft of the fuel.
The diesel, stolen between January and June this year, was meant for running power generators being managed by Aggreko International Projects—an independent power producer (IPP)—to help mitigate the power generation crisis in the country in the wake of challenges faced by Electricity Generation Company (Egenco).
Escom spokespesperson Innocent Chitosi said five people including truck drivers and guards were arrested in connection with the theft but the police are refusing to comment on the matter, an indication that some powerful political figures were involved.
The confirmation of the racket confirms revelations by Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima (SKC), who during the launch of United Transformation Movement (UTM) Southern Region rally at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre on Sunday, said that at least three million litres of fuel were recently stolen at the parastatal.
The Vice-President cited the diesel racket in his emphasis of entrenched corruption and fraud in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
During the Sunday rally, Chilima—who stuck to his script of condemning the rot draining public resources in the DPP administration—also challenged responsible authorities to investigate officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and State Residences over their alleged roles in the award of a contract in the procurement of Escom generators to the fourth bidder instead of the successful bidder.
The Vice-President said a brave female Escom chief executive officer (Evelyn Mwapasa) was transferred to a ‘small” institution for allegedly refusing to take instructions from the officials.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :