Escom under fire: Cama probes K1.4 bn vehicles’ purchase

The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has taken to task the problem rocked Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) which has reportedly spent almost K1.4 billion on new fleet of vehicles for its top bosses despite its current poor financial status.

Verified information indicates that the parastatal has purchased 33 vehicles, 4×4 Toyota Fortuners and 4×2 Pathfinders, for its top executive at a cost of K1.4 billion. One brand new Toyota Fortuner 4×4 vehicle cost at about K41 million on the local market with 4×2 selling at K38 Million.

Cama, which last week, also lambasted Escom for donated K35 million to Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood, described the purchase of new fleet of cars as inconsiderate and shocking, especially at the time it is failing to meet current customer demands, with the country having continuous black outs.

In an exclusive interview, Cama’s Executive Director, John Kapito while rating Escom as one of the worst performing statutory corporations in the country, said the parastatal has more problems to work on than a new fleet of cars.

Kapito: Criticises ESCOM
Kapito: Criticises ESCOM

“We are concerned that ESCOM whose operations are poor would have such large sums of money to spend on new vehicles, which simply raises a number of questions on its credibility and interest in serving the needs of the consumers,” said Kapito.

ESCOM Public Relations Manager, Kitty Chingota could not answer her phone each time Nyasa Times called for her comment since Wednesday, and Minister of energy Ibrahim Matola refused to comment on the matter.

But Kapito further questioned how an institution that was failing to adjust its employees’ salaries was able to spend such amount on cars, arguing Escom has failed to be transparent and accountable to its consumers heavily burdened by high tariffs and frequent black outs.

He said: “It was of no surprise that it donated K35 million. Seriously, with the issue of new fleet of vehicles; we would believe that Escom Board and Management were simply looking for political patronage and sympathy from the President with such donation for their own economic and political relevance.

“This is a statutory body that continuously claiming that it is unable to break even and make profits with the current tariffs hence its failure to rehabilitate its machines and generate enough power due to lack of funds; it’s pathetic Escom is taking Malawians for granted. It is currently failing to connect Electricity to many Malawians at same point tariffs are continuously being adjusted upwards and consumers can no longer afford the current escalating tariffs”.

Cama said the consumers experience continuous blackouts in the country and Escom cannot generate enough power to meet the current consumer demand.

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