CSOs bid to stop K675m Escom House demolition: Contract given to Zimbabwean

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written  Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited to halt the demolition of its fire gutted Escom House in Blantyre, saying the K675 million payment just to bring down the building is astronomical.

K675 million to bring down Escom House in Blantyre.

The Escom House demolition issue  sparked debate on social media platforms, when a document purported to be part of the tendering process went into circulation and indicated that some bidders offered to undertake the assignment at less than K675 million.

In a letter, Kawelo Lawyers firm, acting on behalf of HRDC, says it wants justification on the K675 million charge for the exercise.

“The first anomaly that our client noticed is that the figure of the contract itself, looks exorbitant and unjustifiable,” says the letter in part.

Vice chairperson of HRDC, Gift Trapence,  says what the rights activists want is the cancellation of the whole contract altogether.

“Why did Escom refuse to award the contract which just wanted K136 million and opted for somebody who is demanding K675 million.

“This is tax payer money. Malawians want value for their money. It is impossible to use all that money just for demolition of a bulding,” said Trapence.

The contract has been awarded to Irrigwater and Mining Equipment which is owned by Zimbabwean Brighton Chirairo, who in turn has subcontracted it to a South African company.

Spokesperson for Escom Innocent Chitosi, justified the amount, saying the contractor who will demolish the building will bring in heavy sophisticated machinery and that there was no foul play whatsoever.

“Actually, the normal bidding process was done. They were five local bidders who took part including Thofu Investments. It is not true that there was no bidding,” said Chitosi.

According to Chitosi, the K675 million came up because some of the “demolishing equipment is not available locally.”

He said the house being in the central business district, they could not afford to disturb their neighbours by blocking them with wreckage.

“That is why we are bringing in a lot of equipment, most of which is not available in Malawi. We want the job to be done in a professional manner without the highway being closed nor disturbing our neighbours,” said Chitosi.

Escom board chairperson Thom Mpinganjira also justified the cost, saying the exercise will require the contractor, Irrigwater and Mining Equipment, ferrying in equipment from South Africa. Besides, he said there was no local expertise to demolish the building which was destroyed by fire in October 2013.

He said: “The building will be demolished without affecting any structure and utilities.”

However, engineers and other Malawians on social media say the K675 million is too much for demolition of a building.

They suspect Escom has corruptly awarded the contract to Irrigwater and Mining Equipment, an allegation Escom is disputing.

Writing on his Facebook page, academic and analyst Henry Chingaipe observed that the contracted amount was on the higher side for the exercise.

According to published reports, despite the efforts to demolish the building, Escom was yet to submit to Blantyre City Council (BCC) plans for the building to replace the gutted house, BCC chief executive officer Alfred Chanza said.

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Chilungamo
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Chilungamo

Goodall Gondwe should tell Malawians what’s the annual drug budget for all district hospitals in Malawi combined..
What’s the annual recurrent budget for education, agriculture sectors for all districts in Malawi?
But our gogos being liars and thieves they are, will attempt to make an illogical spin on such blatant looting.
Mere demolition up to K675 meter? Give Malawians a breakdown, not K145m to DPP, K60m to one CEO, K30m to local Govt minister, etc,etc.

Tizanka
Guest
Tizanka

Have we heard from someone who has done it in Malawi before? a Malawi we are experts for anything. Even us accountants are experts in water engineering and construction. This is one of the reasons this country is poor

Mirella K
Guest
Mirella K

What if we awarded a contract to construct a new building instead so that the construction company could demolish first and b4 it starts building?

Piper
Guest
Piper

So Mr Escom does not want to disturb the neighbours with the demolition but the neighbours did not complain when the building was on fire…

benjones
Guest

This job should rather be given to Malawi Army they will know which explosive to use and how to bring this building down. The building in question looks very strong. i will rather renovate that bring it down.

katayeni chitutu
Guest
katayeni chitutu

a terastone mongowaptsa ntchito chifukwa alinawo machine ofunikawo musayiwale kuti amaphwanya quarry

mtete
Guest
mtete

Demolishing ESCOM house, including removing all the ruble and reinstating the premises, for K136-150m? Appears on the low side for me. Kaya expert Civil Engineers akuti bwanji?

That said, we should not rule out deliberate inflating of figures to benefit someone, particularly during this campaign period, or even a handsome retirement package. So, yes, investigate.

Abdul
Guest
Abdul

What CSO These bastards are crying for a project on demolition for 675m pamene they have pocketed a huge sum of 2 billion from batawarara on the 53 billion claim. Gift had travelled recently to Mauritius to receive the sums. Has the public seen these bastards Making any noise now. They are the biggest crooks ever found in Malawi. They should be the first to be arrested. Mr Nyasa. Can you assist by writing on these mother suckers and I’m sorry for my language but yes I call them suckers due to sucking up to a thief selling their mother… Read more »

benjones
Guest

HMMM clue.

Roll Out ATI Now
Guest
Roll Out ATI Now

Bring the evidence to support your blatant allegations

Senior Citizen
Guest

What machine can you use to demolish a building which we don’t have in Malawi and even if we are getting it from SA the cost is just too much and why did the contractor subcontract it??????

Munthu Mulala
Guest
Munthu Mulala

Tipatseni ife ntchito imeneyo tikatenga anyamata mmudzi mdi ma hamala tizagumula chimenecho muzangotiona ka 200 pin basi.kkkk

Mundali
Guest
Mundali

transfering money to be used by late brother children in Zim once he loses election