Chakwera names and shames Malawi govt officials on genset deal: Demands corruption inquiry

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government of influencing the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to award a contract of purchasing generators to a company with links to the party’s members, saying leaders are busy enriching themselves through corrupt means and are failing to fight corruption because “they themselves are thieves and corrupt”.

Chakwera: President Mutharika is either inept at leadership and is completely clueless of what his cadres are doing in destroying the country or he is complicit in these nefarious schemes.

Chief Secretary Muhara involved in Escom procurement

Mutharika at ESCOM meeting with Collins Magalasi looking on

Chakwera told a news conference  he held in Lilongwe on Thursday that  MCP has stumbled on documents indicating that some State House officials influenced the Chief Secretary to the government Justice Lloyd Muhara to award 78 megawatts stand-by electricity generators contract to a company of their choice.

Escom, the distributor of electricity, messed up the procurement of generators that were expected to add 78 megawatts (MW) to the national grid to minimise the intensity of current blackouts following the scandal.

Chakwera said instead of sincerely working to resolve the situation, President Mutharika’s cronies have used the situation to enrich themselves.

“Whether this is with or without the blessing of the State President, we do not know yet. However, it is surprising that the State President has remained silent and has failed to act against on the allegation of serious misconduct of senior officials in his own government and ESCOM.   He seems to be sleeping on the job and he cannot smell the rat in his own backyard and the President has opted for public relations stunts that bear no fruits to suffering Malawians,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in parliament, said the country  has been told and made to believe that government is procuring generators through ESCOM that will generate 78 megawatts of electricity by 31 December 2017.

“According to documents in our possession, this arrangement would cost, in total, USD73, 978,633 (roughly USD74million) which is an equivalent of MK54, 374,295,255 (at an exchange rate of USD1/MK735),” he said.

In the initial procurement process, nine companies, including JocobsenElekro AS, Aggreko, AKSA Enerji Rental Power, APR Energy, Almagamated Power Solution (APS), Altaaq Global CAT, So Energy International, Greenheart Energy Limited and Sino Hydro were shortlisted for supply of three generators that were to be stationed in three lots each at Mapanga in Blantyre, Kanengo in Lilongwe and Chinyama in Kasungu.

In  December 2016 Escom evaluation committee recommended that lots one and two in Mapanga and Kanengo, respectively, be awarded to APR Energy with evaluated respective prices of $34.6 million and $24.9 million while lot three at Chinyama in Kasungu was recommended for award to Aggreko International Projects for $18.9 million.

But when the bids’ evaluation team presented its report to the internal procurement committee (IPC) for approval, the evaluation recommendations were not upheld.

Chakwera citing  objective material evidence which he has said: “dAs it has become a tradition in the Mutharika government, some company (called APAC Energy) was included even though it was not part of the initial bidders list. Aggreko emerged as the successful bidder to provide generators in 3 selected sites in Blantyre(Mapanga), Lilongwe(Kanengo) and Kasungu(Chinyama) to the tune of USD73,978,633.”

According to information Chakwera gave reporters,  on 12th April 2017 ESCOM sought a “No Objection” letter from Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) through letter referenced ESC 617/RT/S/FY 2016-17 and that on 25th April 2017 a “No Objection” was granted by the ODPP to ESCOM.

“ESCOM thus went into negotiations with Aggreko for the other terms and conditions of the contract. ESCOM and Aggreko subsequently signed a contract.

“It turned out that State House strangely preferred to have two companies, whose names we have, to be awarded the contract. In fact, two of Mutharika’s own charges at State House,  allegedly advised the two companies to write ESCOM  BOARD chairperson to complain that the tendering process was wrong,” disclosed Chakwera.

He said the truth of the matter  is that the two of  Mutharika’s own aides were hoping to “get a cut from the deal” and t  the two companies did as instructed.

“ESCOM then wrote ODPP on 7 August 2017 seeking guidance as the contract had already been awarded to Aggreko and ODPP advised that at this point nothing could be done.

“Still not satisfied, State House officials ordered  the Chief Secretary to ask ODPP to find fault with Aggreko award so that the contract is subsequently cancelled and then awarded to one of their preferred two companies.

“ODPP complied and subsequently launched an investigation into the tendering process.  On 28th August 2017 ODPP wrote a report to the Chief Secretary faulting the process and effectively cancelling the ESCOM/Aggreko contract.”

Chakwera continued to say that Chief Secretary eventually ordered ESCOM to cancel the tender.  Thus ESCOM wrote Aggreko on 7 September 2017 advising them that the tender had been cancelled.

“The Chief Secretary instructed Electricity Generation Company (Egenco)  to take over the procurement process since ESCOM had failed.  For the record, the Chief Secretary is the Board Chairman of EGENCO and State House charges saw that they would easily influence the Chief Secretary,” said Chakwera.

He said EGENCO thus recommenced the tendering process where ids were called for and evaluation done.

“Unfortunately, the State House preferred company did not bid. While waiting for the results of the evaluation process, on Tuesday 24th October 2017 at 5.30pm a meeting was convened by the Chief Secretary involving the ESCOM Board Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer in the presence of Dr. Collins Magalasi and two representatives of a company called Altaaqa (which is the one that did not bid) at Ryalls Hotel.  Clear instructions were given to ESCOM to award the generator contract to Altaaqa even though they did not satisfy the procurement requirements as per document in our possession,” claimed Chakwera during the news conference.

Chakwera said  Altaaqa was consistently number 4 under the ESCOM evaluation process and they never submitted any bid under EGENCO bidding process.

“To back up this meeting at Ryalls hotel, the  ‘beneficiaries’ of transaction convinced President Mutharika to stage a joint meeting of ESCOM and EGENCO Boards of Directors which he subsequently attended on Wednesday 25th October 2017 in Blantyre.

“During this staged board meeting the ESCOM Board chairman was overheard telling the President that the Board and Management were ready to implement the directive he (the President) made through the Chief Secretary to single source from Altaaqa.  Thus Altaaqa which never bid at EGENCO and was consistently number 4 was awarded contract in single sourcing,” said Chakwera.

The leader of opposition also said  President Mutharika lied  to Malawians on Sunday 29th October 2017 at the Mlakho wa Alhomwe annual festival, that one generator had been shipped into the country when none of that had happened.

“He even said that another one was being shipped into the country and would be in by 1 December 2017.  This too was a lie too,” Chakwera said.

He said as Mutharika was delivering his speech at the Mlakho wa Alhomwe on 29th October, 2017, Altaaqa was actually cancelling the contract due to what they called “variations to our Terms and Conditions that are not acceptable” through a letter dated 29th October 2019.

Chakwera said there are many questions his party has raised why the Chief Secretary Muhara  involved in ESCOM procurement.

“This is clear case of abuse of office, interference and misprocurement,” he said.

Chakwera said from the scanal it clearly shows that the Mutharika-led government is more concerned with enriching members of the DPP than the plight of Malawians.

“They have deliberately created a crisis with the sole purpose of embezzling taxpayers’ funds.  This government does not care about the cost Malawians are paying for its costs.  Ordinary Malawians are paying for their dear lives just for DPP officials to enrich themselves,” said Chakwera.

“ In truth, what we are calling government is simply a cartel whose raison d’etre is self-enrichment,” he said.

Chakwera said President Muthairka  is either “inept at leadership and is completely clueless of what his cadres are doing in destroying the country or he is complicit in these nefarious schemes.”

He sternly reminded President Mutharika  of the country’s sacrosanct constitutional principle which states that all legal and political authority of the State derives from the people of Malawi and should be exercised solely to serve and protect their interest.

“Indeed, the Constitution binds him to exercise his presidential powers only in accordance with his responsibilities to the people of Malawi.  Needless to say, President Mutharika is exercising his power and authority merely to serve and protect the interest of the DPP and its cadres. He has clearly abandoned his responsibilities to Malawians,” said Chakwera.

He urged  Malawians to be “vigilant and call their leader to account”.

Said Chakwera: “We  cannot be indifferent to the continued plunder of our nation’s wealth by President Mutharika’s small corterie of sycophants and tribesmen.   As the Leader of Opposition I shall not tire in my mission to call out those that want Malawians to continue wallowing in poverty as they continue to unjustly enrich themselves.”

The leader of opposition has demanded  a public enquiry into this stand-by generator deal.

“It is my sincere hope that those that are found fallen foul of the laws of the country shall be prosecuted accordingly,” he said.

Malawi currently is experiencing extended hours of blackouts that have seen some areas going between 15 to18 hours without electricity.

Chakwera is however yet to highlight on the Party’s policies on energy.

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Kharupa
Guest

I am Lomwe yes but it does not mean am benefiting from DPP so by hating and attacking our tribe will never be a solution inu Mr man of God,you don’t build a nation by dividing and attacking other tribes,let me remind you that it’s not all Chewas who support MCP and vise Verser

J.J.J.Sonke
Guest
 In addition to all this, if these 78 MW diesel generators would run 24/7 the cost of fuel alone would triple the total ESCOM and Egenco running cost. This does not include maintenance and depreciation! Who is going to pay for this? The biggest blunder made by Bingu wa Mutharika was the cancellation of the inter connection. He said that he did not want to pay for imported electricity but rather would pay 10 times more for imported fuel for the thousands of stand by generators.  In addition again. ESCOM cannot be fully blamed for the present situation. The problem right… Read more »
Kunena Mosapsyatila
Guest
Pathetic indeed is Malawi. The DPP takes advantage of lack of cohesion in Malawi, massive illiterate levels that make people not to defend their rights and above all a divided civil service that lacks formidable unions that can make the govt dance around. This saga revealed by Chakwera is one of the strategies of stealing tax payers money for the coming campaign; which is very sickening indeed. Another scheme in the pipe line to syphone money for campagn is the rushly imprimented contributory pension scheme; which has been imprimented using a divide and rule method by segregating age groups and… Read more »
Hatton
Guest

Kaitano, cos or CSOs, whatever you meant, are not investigative bodies in Malawi. Ask bwana wakoyo, yemwe anaomba Assemblies of God ndikuthawira Ku Congress, apemphe ACB ifufuze. Are you serious Billy Mayaya is competent enough to do that?
Tsoka MCP chifukwa owononga ku Assemblies of God wathawira kumeneko.

Jamax
Guest
Please Dr. Chakwera slow down don’t talk too much as if you an Angel we are all living in this Sinful & Cursed Land as a Pastor you should be aware that some of the problems we are facing it’s because as a Country we have gone against the will of God. Let me tell even if if you are elected to be the President of this Nation you will not be able to do any miracle to turn around this Nation. These problems have been there for years, corrupt people are there and will be there even in your… Read more »
Nganiza Muthulika
Guest

Malawians want to know where their money go when they buy electricity units? ESCOM has raised units price man Times and Malawians keep buying but get NO electricity. The money should be for improving services of electricity tubins. Why the government not borrow to improve electricity which is mist important for development? Why this has gone years after years. Muluzi time was electricity. JB brought electricity only during Munthsrikas Malawi has experienced long hrs of blackout. Why? Chakwela is speaking in behalf of Mslawians.

Mmbalewamungopark
Guest
The thing with Escom is that competent and we’ll trained people have been dismissed from the company. Just as much as it can be argued that any one can be appointed to manage Escom. I beg to differ. People may not know that Escom has been training and developing its staff to solely manage the entity efficiently, effectively and professionally. At the dawn of multiparty democracy things started crumbling as incompetent people were replacing the competent people. This trend has gone on to date where by blackout is order of the day. Development and politics should not be mixed up.… Read more »
pathfinder
Guest

Tidzaonatu ngati alhomwe omwe akuwanyozawo ati azamuvotere. Ungoyerekeza kubwera kudela langa Chakwera kuti uzapange campaign munthawi ya campaign. Uzaona nseu pobwera kumsonkhano koma ulendo wako obwelera kwanu ada uzakhala wa pa ambulance njuchi zitakuluma. Mwina ukuliiwala dela lachilhomweli, kafunse Kamuzu ada.

ANON
Guest

Malawians should stop paying tax untill 2019… thats the best way to protest

Makolija
Guest

I am a lhomwe and if Chakwera wins in 2019 I shall leave Malawi. I have not benefited from Mutharika’s perceived nepotism but I now know for sure that Chakwera has got pathological and dangerously uninhibited hate for all the lhomwes.

Bob
Guest

Zivaya

Nganiza Muthulika
Guest

U are wrong abort Chakwela. If u leave Malawi where are going? Do u know Malawians are chased everywhere. All Malawians are suffering including Alhlomwes. Its Muntharkas Who brought Nepotism in Malawi. We Mslawians lived together despite our tribes. Muntharikas espevially Peter advised hos brother to use Alhlomwe
to get support. Other tribes dont hate Alhlomwes. They are victim of Muntharikas. Mycket brother Malawi is your country. Things will get better withiout Muntharka. We should unite for the sake of our nation.

Dzanjalimozi
Guest

You were living happily when all government positions were controlled by John Tembo and the Kadzamiras, the Kandodos. Civil service was central region

Coupon morgan
Guest

I believe who ever says Malawians are chased every where is very ignorant. I have been living in the US for the past 25 years with no problem. Enjoying just like every American, in fact you want to know I receive compliments from everyone I meet that Malawians are nice likeable people, honest, humble, and hardworking. Most of all God fearing. Where does that come from that Malawians are being chased. If you have no contribution please zip your mouth. Leave a Lowe alone.

ANON
Guest

leave we dont care

Nginde
Guest

Alomwe tikudana nanudi chifukwa cha chitsiru chimene mudatibweletserachi. Anthu oyipa, you knew that these guys are thieves but still voted for them, now we are all suffering. We don’t care, leave Malawi with your fellow lomwes come 2019

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