Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has once again exposed corrupt activities at Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom), this time about a contract to supply meters and meter boxes they suspect was dubiously awarded.
HRDC, through its whistleblower initiative, has since reported the matter to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
ACB director general Reyneck Matemba has confirmed receipt of the complaint, saying investigations have started.
In the letter dated July 28 2020 signed by chairperson Gift Trapence, HRDC says Escom in September 2016 advertised for restricted tendering of 185 000 meters.
“The Escom internal procurement committee recommended that the contract should be awarded to Shenzen Intermeter Company Limited for the contract sum of $1 587 647.
“The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority rejected the recommendation. In September 2017, Escom advertised an open tender for 193 000 meter boxes and 126 200 meters,” read the letter.
It says Escom split this into 10 lots with four lots for meters and six for meter boxes.
“Our investigations indicate that these were awarded to 11 companies, but all these companies are linked to the above mentioned [person]. Our investigations indicate that this linkage led to the cancellation of the tender.
“In 2018 Escom advertised for another tender this, too, was awarded to the [same person]. It is alleged this person was backed by powerful political forces and that the tender was manipulated,” HRDC claims.
Escom has also importing wood poles using Safari General Dealers for K4 billion using a cartel of seven companies ignoring Wood Industry Corporation Limited (Wico).
ACB recently pounced on Escom where it arrested the power utility’s former board chairperson, former chief executive officer and two others in connection with a K4 billion corruption probe.
The ACB also arrested former Escom director of procurement Fanuel Nkhono and senior procurement officer Emilias Kandapo in relation to the procurement scam at the power utility.
In recent years, Escom has been entangled in numerous challenges, including toxic debts and alleged corrupt practices that have in turn crippled operations and dented the power utility’s image.
In October 2018, it was revealed that Escom offered contracts to companies not registered with the Registrar General and avoided clearance from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority by splitting procurement deals.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :