Malawi Olympic Committee treasurer in contract scam

A Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) awarded the multimillion Kwacha Olympiafrica project to a contractor, who is a close relation to its treasurer Jappie Mhango.

But in typical Biblical story about Simon Peter denying his association with Jesus Christ, Mhango has denied being related to the proprietor of Vunda Building Contractor, which has been doing the construction works at the project side in Kawale II next to Kamuzu Institute of Sports.

“I do not like glorifying lies as such I would wish to request that you speak with the contractor for you to establish whether indeed I am related to him or not,” said Mhango in an emailed response to a Nyasa Times questionnaire.

Mhango: There is no relationship

However, sources both within and outside Moc interviewed by Nyasa Times confirmed the proprietor of Vunda Construction is indeed a close relation to the Moc treasurer, who acted as president of the organization for close to a year following the death of elected president Floriano Massah.

Some of the sources within Moc testified they came to know about the relationship between the treasurer and the contractor when Mhango lost a brother last year. According to the sources, it was the contractor who spoke on behalf of the family at the funeral.

When Mhango’s nephew had a wedding at Lilongwe Hotel last year, the contractor was also reportedly at the thick of things handling proceedings.

Another member from the board told Nyasa Times during the investigations that the project financiers Olympi-africa Foundation already queried Moc after noticing some personal details for the contractor resembled those of the Moc treasurer.

The executive member distanced the board from the issue, saying Mhango single handedly awarded the contract to his kinsman, when he was overseeing the project.

Previously, said the official, former Moc accountant Peter Chikazingwa was appointed director of the project but he reportedly relinquished the role, having noticed that Mhango was doing everything alone.

Chikazingwa eventually resigned as an employee of Moc after serving the organization for close to 10 years. His resignation shocked many of the body’s affiliates, who felt the officer left out of frustration after failing to control the mismanagement in the body.

Mhango was eventually replaced as overseer of the project by president Oscar Kanjala, whom he (Mhango) had handpicked as Massa’s permanent replacement. Kanjala was forced to make the replacement following queries from stakeholders on the slow and unsatisfactory progress of the project, which has drawn millions from Malawi government and Olympi-africa Foundation.

According to Nyasa Times findings, the project drew US $75,000, $15,000 and $30,000 (close to K20 million before devaluation) from Olimpi-africa, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Malawi government respectively but still failed to move from the first phase that involves construction of a play ground with a running track and courts for basketball, volleyball and netball.

With the facilities far from completion, Moc has reportedly drawn $50,000 from the allocation of the second phase to finish the first phase. The second phase, will among others involve construction of a multipurpose hall and administrative offices.

Despite the evidence of mismanagement in Moc and other scandals including that of the Mozambique 2011 All Africa Games, which saw the Malawi delegation to the Games sleeping in the bus for two days for non-payment of accommodation fees, the committee’s Olympic affiliates have been silent on the issues.

The body has of late been hosting luncheons and dinners for its Olympic affiliates, who have also in recent months benefited from money handouts meant for London Games’ preparations yet Malawi will only be sending a small group of athletes on solidarity, having failed to satisfy qualification standards.

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