Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, has called on the people of this country to stop entertaining the thieving of public funds through corruption, saying the K53 billion claim from government by two companies owned by Abdul Karim Batawarara should be investigated.
Karim Batawarara’s African Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company are demanding the said amount for an agreement signed in March 2012.
The two suppliers signed a K9 billion contract with the Immigration Department to supply uniforms and other accessories but delivery only started five years later.
Speaking during a whistle-stop political tour in Lilongwe at the weekend, Chakwera said some unscrupulous suppliers are hell bent in stealing from the State in consort with public officers who want to reap from poor Malawians where they did not sow.
“This K53 billion claim and the award of the contracts under question needs to be investigated for possible corruption and fraud,” said Chakwera.
He said Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament should probe the legitimacy of a K53.9 billion claim that two firms want the Immigration Department to pay.
PAC has already summoned top government officials in Immigration, the Attorney General and Secretary to the Treasury as well as directors of the two companies to appear before the committee on February 1 2019.
The letter, dated January 18 2019, states that PAC is invoking its powers according to Section 9 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privilege Act) to summon the government officials and directors or secretaries of Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company.
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) also demanded the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Fiscal Police and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to investigate the matter.
After signing the contract in 2012, nothing came through from the suppliers and the Immigration Department concluded that the companies’ silence on the order had invalidated the contract.
But on August 1 2017, the department got separate letters from the two companies both dated July 31 2017 with identical message that the goods the department had ordered would be in Malawi “within the next three weeks” and asked the authorities to facilitate duty free clearance from the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) for the consignments.
This shocked the department because as far as it was concerned the contracts were no longer valid in view of the five years that elapsed without receiving the goods.
The department then wrote the Attorney General (AG) on August 2 2017 seeking legal advice and the AG advised it to reject the goods based on the lapsed time, forcing the suppliers to resort to courts where government is now fighting the matterFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :