Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (Macra) top management has since Friday been working under pressure to correct scores of illegal and corrupt procurements, after leading private broadcaster Zodiak Radio and Television made the corruption investigation by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), a main headline news item, Nyasa Times can confirm.
An angry Macra director general Godfrey Itaye threatened to “deal” with Zodiak for carrying the news item about Macra being under ACB probe, as confirmed by ACB spokeswoman Egritta Ndala.
Ndala refused to name any officials from Macra being investigated or how far the investigation has gone.
Itaye, procurement expert Joseph Ngalawa and director of finance Ben Chitsonga have been locked up at Macra House to clean up piles of illegal transactions, including dubious payments for accommodation, fuel and other allowances to former Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa, six months after he was appointed to another ministry.
Nankhumwa is the brainchild behind the Consolidated ICT Regulatory Management System (Cirms), dubbed ‘the spy machine’ by its critics, from a one man supplier Agilis International where up to $2 million have been siphoned through underhand dealings with Agilis chief Rovan Bunnet split between Itaye and Nankhumwa.
Itaye also travelled to South Africa with his wife Sylvia and two other accomplices where they collected hard cash amounting to US150 000, as a sweetener to assure Agilis International that the monitoring system would be upgraded and roll out in September last year. Up to now ‘spy machine’ is yet to roll out.
Other documents being cleaned up before the ACB combs Macra, to be followed by a forensic audit by Price Waterhouse, are Itaye’s parent’s in-laws dubious contracts for Car tracking, LED colour TV sets, Computers and Printers among others.
Itaye and Ngalawa also facilitated the dubious K135 million deals for non-existent printing of developmental calendars which were never delivered to Macra stores.
Procurement expert Ngalawa said there was nothing suspicious about Macra top team working overnight and weekends.
Under scrutiny are piles of manually written cheques outside the official ACPACC system, which the sole administrator is Finance Manager Phillip Nakoma.
Deputy Director of Administration Henry Macheso, who has been abusing Macra fuel card worthy K3 million per month, funds he has been using to build two mansions at Chileka in Blantyre and Area 25 in Lilongwe is also panicking to reconcile the fuel, allocations, mostly meant to fuel ruling party vehicles.
In the last three weeks, Itaye, Macheso and Ngalawa had travelled to Lilongwe to meet and discuss with Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara, who was a beneficiary of K94 million office refurbishment, a deal facilitated by former board chair Mervis Mangulenje, a Muhara’s confidante.
She conspired with Itaye to funnel millions of kwachas including an office generator to her own house at a time when the nation was experiencing critical power shortages.
Also being investigated is the dubious recruitment of Nakhumwa’s cousin Dan Dachi as Revenue Assurance Manager when better qualified candidates were left out on Itaye’s orders. Dachi posses a suspicious bachelor’s degree in management obtained from some nondescript backyard unrecognized one room college.
Another dubious recruitment is of Chikumbutso Njolomole as Human Resources Manager, another relation who replaced Dalitso Jumbe, a whistle blower of Macra’s top level corruption.
Another DPP Cadet Pato Phoya has also been recruited on Itaye’s orders from Nankhumwa as Administration Manager. He is yet to report for duties but Dachi and Njolomole have since started work.
A Nyasa Times investigative reporter who drove to No 9 Salmin Armour Road where Macra House is located was not allowed inside the premises, but KK Security guards confirmed the three top Directors were indeed working overnight since last Friday.
They are trying to amend IPC minutes for the dubious procurements. They are using the current Acting Director of Legal Affairs Fan Chiwoni for contracts to Itaye’s mother in law when the director was James Kaphale.
A source said Itaye is doctoring declaration of interest in his mother-in-law’s dubious contract.
Malawi is facing rising perceptions of corruption.
A corruption perception study by Transparency International (TI)—considered to be one of the most objective and respected globally—last month released a report that showed Malawi had dropped two places from 120 in 2016 to 122 in 2017, an indication of increasing worries of corruption for the country.
The country’s score is stuck at 31 for three consecutive years, according to TI, which means there is no improvement.
This lack of progress could give pause to investors and donors considering to pour money into the country even as it may also discourage local taxpayers from remitting their obligations to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), which already missed its first half domestic revenue collection by K38 billion in the current fiscal calendar.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :