MACRA bosses in kickbacks scam over spy machine

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) top brass have been implicated in a multi-million scam on the purchase of the spy machine, saying they had to pay US$6.9 million to a US firm Agilis International when they were offered it at a cheap 1.5 million Euros by another firm.

Insiders at Macra confided to Nyasa Times that a South Africa based company called Global Voice Group (GVG) whose address is the Foundry, Level 4 Unit, and 401 Cardiff Street Green Point, Cape Town was the preferred company to provide the machine.

Charles Nsaliwa, Macra’s director general, is said to have pushed for the machine to be purchased at Agilis.

Nsaliwa: Deal shoddy

“Nsaliwa hired Richard Chisala as a consultant and the two of them visited GVG and Agilis international and changed to say Agilis had better equipment,” said the source.

Chisala later on was appointed into the Macra board of directors and is currently chairman of the technical committee of the board.

He told journalists in Zomba on Tuesday that the machine will not be used to listen to people’s conversations.

Operators protested the installation of the equipment to monitor people’s phones. They queried Macra that subscribers will be intimidated to use their networks since they will be monitored by the regulator through the device and that it will be interference into the privacy of their customers.

Chisala accused the country’s mobile operators of telling ‘lies’ that the machine will listen to peoples telephone conversations.

Nyasa Times source also said it is surprising that Macra had to pay US$6.9 million for the machine when the same machine costs other countries like Gabon only 1.5 million Euros.  Macra officials says it is only Chisala and Nsaliwa who can explain this.

Chisala is the one who handles all ICT problems at State House and he is the one who fixes President Bingu wa Mutharika’s laptop.

Both Nsaliwa and Chisala did not return answers to Nyasa Times questionnaire. Ma cra Communications Manager Zadziko Mankhambo and his deputy Clara Mulonya were coy to comment.

Nyasa Times were the first to reveal about the spy machine project.

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