A commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Jean Mathanga, who is former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) board chairperson has been formally charged together with former chief executive officer John Kandulu and two others in connection with a K4 billion corruption scandal at the power utility.
Mathanga, Kandulu, former Escom director of procurement Fanuel Nkhono and senior procurement officer Emilias Kandapo were arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday in relation to the procurement scam at Escom.
The four were taken to Blantyre Magistrate Court on Friday where they were formally charged with two accounts each.
Mathanga was charged with two offences of giving false information contrary to Section 14 (10)(a) of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) and neglect of official duty contrary to Section 121 of the Penal Code.
She is accused of giving false information to ACB on April 18 2017 during investigations into misprocurement of goods around K4 billion.
Mathanga is said to have told ACB that she got authorisation from the Director of Public Procurement through one of its senior officials Edward Jeke to pay various suppliers of goods who had supplied goods to Escom without following procurement procedures.
She is also accused of willfully neglecting to perform her duty bound by the Public Finance Management Act and Public Procurement Act by authorising payment of goods supplied to Escom by various suppliers totaling K1.4 billion without following procurement procedures when she was board chairperson around 2015/16.
Nkhono and Kandapo were each charged with one offence of abuse of office contrary to Section 25B(1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
On his part, Kandulu is among others, alleged to have used his influence as CEO on former director of finance Betty Mahuka to perform her duties and discharge her functions corruptly by making payments amounting to K4 billion to various suppliers without following procurement procedures.
Their lawyers applied for bail which was not objected by the graft-busting body.
Granting bail, senior resident magistrate Emmelia Chidule ordered Mathanga to pay K2 million cash bond and K4 million non-cash bond for her two sureties while Kandulu, Nkhono and Kandapo were each asked to pay K1.5 million cash bond and K3 million non cash bond.
The probe followed a complaint ACB received on September 21 2016 from an informant that there was political interference in the manner procurement contracts and payments were made.
The procurement scandal is among many scandals that had rocked the parastatal, including theft of 4.2 million litres of diesel meant for generators and misprocurement of goods worth K5 billion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :