MACRA’S Nsaliwa buys official Prado for a song

Mystery surrounds the purchase of an official executive Toyota Prado at a discounted price of K1.1 million by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director General Charles Nsaliwa.

The book value of the vehicle, which is about three years old, is pegged at almost K10 million, factoring issues of depreciation.

However, Nsaliwa managed to bulldoze Macra board of directors chaired by Ted Nandolo, a close associate of the late President Bingu Wa Mutharika, to approve the purchase of the vehicle last week.

The board’s mandate is expiring next week.

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Inside sources said Nsaliwa waited until last week when he knew that the board’s tenure of office will be expiring on April 30, 2012 and that most of the board members were unlikely to be re-appointed by the new administration, when he brought the issue of the purchase of the car for approval.

“Most of the board members felt there is nothing to lose as many of them know that they are not coming back considering that there is now a new administration and they approved the purchase of the vehicle at that ridiculous price,” said a source familiar with the deal.

The vehicle was registered as BQ4364 but Nsaliwa has now changed it to BLK 4656. The ‘BLK’ stands for Balaka, where Nsaliwa comes from.

Insiders said prior to buying the car, Nsaliwa took the vehicle for general service at City Motors, a franchise dealer for BMW in the country, instead of Toyota Malawi which normally services Toyota type of vehicles.

“The bill that came out of the service at City Motors is very huge, it is more than what he has bought the car for because he also demanded that Macra should buy new tyres for the vehicle which was done at the cost of K600, 000,” said the source.

Nsaliwa is currently at the centre of controversy after he spearheaded the purchase of a ‘spy machine’ at a whooping US$6.7 million from a US based Agilis International.

The implementation of the spy machine is on hold after some concerned citizens got court injunctions.

Nsaliwa declined to comment on the matter when contacted saying ‘there is no issue worth commenting there’.

However, Macra Deputy Director of Legal Services James Kaphale defended the purchase of the vehicle saying Nsaliwa is entitled to buy the vehicle.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the DG purchasing the vehicle, he is entitled and if the board felt he could buy it at that amount, then that’s the decision of the board and management cannot question that,” said Kaphale.

Insiders also alleged that proper procedures were not followed during the purchase of the vehicle.

Macra Procurement Manager Joseph Ngalawa while confirming that procedures were not followed also defended the sale.

“It’s only one vehicle which was being used by the DG and sometimes we use common sense in these transactions. You wanted it to go through the Office of Public Procurement (ODPP) when the one buying was the one who was using it? We use common sense,” said Ngalawa.

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