The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has penned the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), asking the graft-busting body to investigate Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) for a probable violation of the laws in the procurement of a new mobile laboratory fuel testing van.
HRDC says it has received some information, pertaining to the contract MERA awarded to City Motors for the said laboratory van for the contract value of K704 million.
However, the coalition stresses in the letter that it is simply playing the role of a good and responsible citizen by blowing the whistle blow on the matter.
“On 7th May 2019, MERA paid City Motors MK563, 200,000.00 which translates into 80 percent as advance payment. Our reading of the procurement laws, especially the Procurement Regulations, shows that it is illegal to make advance payment in purchase of goods procured locally,” says the letter, which the HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence has signed alongside his national coordinator Luke Tembo.
Other signatories to the letter are Happy Mhango, regional chairperson for the North, Madalitso Banda, the regional chairperson for the East, Masauko Thawe, the regional chairperson for the South and Billy Mayaya who is the regional chairperson for the Centre.
According to the letter, MERA advertised for the procurement of a mobile fuel testing laboratory van. On 3rd April 2019, MERA entered into a contract with City Motors for the supply of the said laboratory van for the contract value of K704 million.
Almost a year later, on 17th April 2020, MERA paid MK140.8 million to City Motors translating to 20% of the contract sum.
The letter observes that the mobile laboratory van was delivered to MERA in April 2020, a year after the contract was agreed. Furthermore, delivery was made almost a year after the 80 advance payment.
The coalition alleges that on 2nd March 2020, two MERA staff members, Bright Mbewe and Nelson Mandala, went to Johannesburg, South Africa, to inspect the laboratory van.
“They submitted a report to their management. This report was used to pay the above said 20 percent. This raises several questions including why MERA dealt with City Motors (a middleman with no known expertise in fuel testing) when they could have procured directly and cheaply from suppliers. We also are surprised why MERA was involved with a South African dealer and not leave that to City Motors,” says the coalition.
It further states that their information shows that the van did not come with the equipment as stipulated in the contract.
“Furthermore, we are informed that the contract indicated that the van would be an IVECO DAILY PANEL VAN but what has been delivered is a MITSUBISHI. We appeal to ACB to commence the investigations as soon as possible and that the anticorruption body will update the nation when the investigations have started,” pleads the coalition.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :