Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited has cancelled plans to award a K675 million contract to bring down Escom House in Blantyre after a public outcry that the cost could have been less.
Escom chief executive officer Dr Allexon Chiwaya said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that the power utility body has cancelled he demolition contract “in the public interest.”
The cancellation comes in the wake of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) demand Escom Limited to halt the demolition of its fire gutted Escom House, saying the K675 million payment just to bring down the building is astronomical.
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.
Sources say Chirairo is just being fronted by some “biggie” in the deal for wrongful enrichment.
In cancellation statement, Escom boss said they have “noted the concerns”that have been raised by engineers and ordinary Malawians.
“The concerns raised are being addressed and the general public shall be informed of any developments to that effect,” said Chiwaya, according the statement dated April 26 2019.
Chiwaya, nonetheless, said Escom followed all the procurement processes, including seeking a “No objection” from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority granted on April 8 2019.
The PPDA letter of ‘no objection’ signed by Patrick Nkunika reads: “Kindly be advised that according to information made available to the authority, ‘no objection’ has been granted for the award a works contract to Irrigwater and Mining for the demolition of the fire gutted Escom House in the city of Blantyre at the sum of K675 million.”
Chiwaya said notification in the newspapers was meant to ensure “transparency and accountability” in the procurement process prior to any contract award as required by law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :