The Lilongwe Magistrate Court has refused Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) prayer to renew restriction notice, stopping the K6.8 billion contract to Terrastone Limited to construct a Malawi Energey Regulatory Authority (Mera) office complex.
In April ACB director Lucas Kondowe issued a restriction notice, stopping the contractor and Mera from proceeding with the construction works, forcing Mera to award the contract to Sogecoa.
ACB argued that they had received a complaint that Mera chief executive officer Raphael Kamoto had “unilaterally awarded the contract” and asked for all relevant documents for the procurement.
After the expiry of the restriction notice, ACB in its quest to put the project ‘in neutral gear’ applied ti Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court to seek an extension of the restriction notice to allow themselves more time to interview officials at Office of the Director of Public Procurement and Internal Procurement Committee.
ACB asked the court to extend the Restriction Notice for another 90 days on Terrastone and for Mera not to continue with the construction of the office complex.
But Principal resident magistrate Patrick Chilunga Chirwa ruled on Friday against ACB.
“With all due respect they [ACB] have not shown to the court why they could not do that within the initial three months of the notice,” said Magistrate Chirwa.
“To just assert that they need more time without being accountable for the statutory time limit already provided is not enough.
“There is no reasonable ground or cause on which this court would base a renewal of the restriction notice,” the Magistrate said.
He then ruled: “The court has no option but to dismiss application [by ACB].”