Barely days after the Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) wrote Blantyre-based business mogul Abdul Karim Batatawala demanding that he pays back K585 million he allegedly received fraudulently from Malawi Police Service (MPS) for procuring and delivering goods to the security agency, YAS lawyers have advised the organisation to pull off the case.
YAS’s lawyers, Ritz Attorneys-at-Law wrote Karim Batatawala [Malawian of Asian origin] trading as Africa Commercial Agency, Gratolite, Lido Electrical, Kasco Enterprise, L&G Tools and Engineering, Novatech Engineering, giving him seven days to pay back K585,940, 743.18 he received from the police service.
Batatawala was accused of knowingly receiving the money from the Malawi Government through Policd under Procurement and Distribution of Police Uniforms in the 2001/2002 and 2004/2005 fiscal years.
YAS through lawyer Bright Theu argued that the money was obtained through invoicing for goods never supplied to MPS, excess charges, overpayments and returned goods whose invoices were not reversed..
However, in letters Nyasa Times has sourced- which are communication between YAS and Battawala’s lawyers- the businessman was cleared of any wrong doing by the National Audit Office in 2012.
In a letter to the organization’s executive director, Ritz Attorneys-at-Law Managing Partner, Lusungu Gondwe has advised the vocal organization to close the case ‘unless you give compelling further evidence’.
“We have received a letter from Messrs Nampota & Company dated August 10, 2018 acting on behalf of Mr. Abdul Karim (their client) the letter is self explanatory. In short, Messrs Nampota & Company advises that National Audit Office carried out further verification in 2012 and confirmed that their client performed the contract,” wrote Gondwe in one of the letters.
Gondwe said in the letter that that it will be extremely difficult to maintain proceedings against Batatawala considering the National Audit Office’s revelations.
According to Batatawala’s lawyer, Alexius Earnest Nampota [former Anti Corruption Bureau boss], government withheld his client’s payment for many years on same allegations as raised by YAS only to be cleared after National Audit carried out a verification exercise in 2012.
“The verification exercise disclosed that our client duly perfumed its contracts and the payments claimed were legitimate. There was no over claim from our client. We enclose herewith an audit report dated 30th August 2012 for ease of your reference.
“Following the Audit Report the Malawi Police carried on effecting payments. The office of the Inspector General of Police proceeded to confirm that Malawi Police received our client’s goods and confirmed the sums payable to our client as at the 30th of May, 2014. We enclose herewith a letter from the Office of the Inspector General of Police for your information,” wrote Nampota in a letter dated 10th August, 2018 addressed to Gondwe.
Nampota revealed that they commenced action against the Malawi Government in Commercial Cause Number 101 of 2015 and the matter was resolved in Court after the Attorney General had proved and acknowledge all the deliveries.
“In view of the foregoing there is no basis for the claims made by your client. We believe that the matter has been in the public domain when our client had sued the Malawi Government. Your client should have taken advantage to bring these to the attention of the authorities while the court proceedings were going on.
“They should have been disproved in an open court if they dared to do so. In view of the foregoing we wish to request you to evaluate your clients claim on the ground thaT.
- It has no legitimate basis
- That even if you commenced action the action would be statute barred.”
According to the audit report, out of 9 companies that supplied the goods to the police service seven belonged to Abdul Karim Batatawala. Among other things, YAS claims that the company was invoicing goods that were never supplied to Malawi police.
Under six of Karim’s companies, six invoices worth K170 million [K170,791,725.00] and Malawi Police paid but the goods were never delivered and Karim also overcharged for goods delivered to MPS by K295,756,604.40 despite that other firms supplied goods of better quality and more durable.
“After matching all the goods supplied to against the total payment made by MPS, the Report established that you (Karim) were overpaid by K109 million,” reads the report in part.
YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka said there was need to continue tracing government money so that the public purse is safeguarded.
The Kajolowela led organisation has been pursuing another K2.793 billion food rations scam at Malawi Police, where supplier Pioneer Investments made an abortive interest claim of K466 million and deposited K145 million into the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Standard Bank account whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika.
According to the November 2017 Anti-Corruption Bureau report, a day after the supplier deposited K2.793 billion payment from police for supplying 500 000 ration packs, the company transferred K145 million to the DPP Standard Bank account on April 13 2016.
The DPP has announced its intent to pay back the money to PI Ltd. The matter is also in court after YAS sued the DPP and PI Ltd.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :