The “gagging order” against Nation Publications Limited (MPL) from publishing any story in its titles on the K53 billion claim at the Immigration Department by businessperson Abdul Karim still continues as the public awaits government to protect the national interests.
Karim and his two–Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company-signed a K9 billion contract in March 2012 for uniforms they never supplied for five years only to raise the contract sum to K53 billion in 2017 – a sum which has the Immigration Department is protesting.
Nyasa Times as well as NPL through its titles The Nation, Weekend Nation and Nation on Sunday have been reporting on the matter which has been christened as ‘Uniform-gate’.
But the supplier feels the publication of the stories are depicting him as “corrupt and fraudukent” and obtained a restriction order stopping further reporting.
The Nation is no longer reporting about the matter while its rival Times Group has stayed away from reporting the matter.
NPL’s Deputy Chief Executive Office Alfred Ntonga said the newspaper will “follow through the legal process” following the gagging order.
Government spokesperson Henry Mussa, who is also Minister of Information,said the authorities have noted the concerns relating to K53billion claim as “genuine”, saying authorities are therefore working tirelessly to protect the national interests.
The government spokesman also pointed out that the State is “vehemently opposing and challenging” the said claim in the courts of law.
Apart from the K53 billion claim, Abdul Karim has been under fire from the civil society organisations (CSOs) to reimburse government K585 million he allegedly received fraudulently from Malawi Police Service (MPS) for procuring and delivering goods to the security agency.
The demand follows a National Audit Office (NAO) letter to Secretary for Home Affairs and Internal Security dated July 2006 which says during fiscal years 2001/2002 and 2004/2005, MPS management deliberately disregarded government procurement regulations, tendering procedures and use of an independent procurement committee (IPC) in dealing with Karim, who was trading as Africa Commercial Agency.
The CSOs through Ritz Attorneys at Law, argue that Karim knowingly received the money from the Malawi Government through MPS under Procurement and Distribution of Police Uniforms in the 2001/2002 and 2004/2005 fiscal years.
On excess charges of K295 756 604.40, the companies linked to Karim that allegedly committed the offence are Africa Commercial Agency, Gratolite, Lido Electrical, Kasco Enterprise, L&G Tools and Engineering as well as Novatech Engineering.
Among others, it shows that in 2004, between January 3 and November 4, Africa Commercial Agency invoiced K85 805 708.00 against a comparative amount of K36 800 804.82, resulting in excess charge of K49 004 903.18.
The audit office then recommended that MPS management should recover the overpayments made to some suppliers, reverse or recover double payments and trace missing payment vouchers.
The demand comes amid another K2.793 billion food rations scam at MPS, 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :