Before elevating two senior chiefs to Traditional Authority in Machinga District, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Malunga Phiri first made an inspection tour of Machinga District Council’s new office complex in Liwonde where he issued a stern warning to its staff against indulging in corruption.
Phiri made the statement after been appraised that the project started in 2016 but was only handed over by its contractor late last year after first undervaluing the whole cost of construction.
District Commissioner Bester Mandele, through his engineer reported, that the contractor, Tapita Building Construction, had first quoted to finish the job at K581 million but later there was an additional K50 at over K632 million.
The project finally got finished after the donor committed a further K50 million for it to be completed.
Accompanied by Paramount Chief Kawinga, Traditional Athority Stola, Council chairperson Alexander Shoti and his deputy Idah Kunje, the Minister said there was need to be vigilant on accountability that contractors they identify should always quote the right cost.
“It is the prerogative of the Office of the Director of Procurement that it does not just accept the lowest bidder. There are some lowest bidder that are accepted but later quote you more to finish the job.
“This is where corruption creeps in. Do not allow this to happen. Make sure all your contractors present their best budget and, according to the Office of the Director of Procurement, you are not supposed to accept the lowest bidder.
“The one you see as the lowest bidder comes backs to you for more funding to complete your job and that’s where corruption creeps in.
“Corruption has no room in my ministry as long as I am Minister. Let us work professionally because development plans start from Council level,” he said.
On his part the DC said appraised the Minister that people of Machinga and the Council staff feel blessed to be accorded such a modern facility that will make their service delivery work much easier since all its departments are housed under one roof.
“Coordination is now perfect as we are now roofed in one building,” said Mandele. “It is very well spacious as it has four wings with 78 rooms as well as a Council Chamber and the DC’s boardroom.
“This kind of working environment will motivate the staff in providing excellent and quality service delivery.”
The Paramount Chief Kawinga Paramount Chief, also said this was his proudest moment and prays that such development initiative should spread across the district.
“What I humbly ask is that us chiefs should also be accorded with one room so that we can also gather in a modern room to deliberate on the next development projects for our district”
He asked the staff to take care of the facility as it is priceless and given the district a new face.
The Minister assured the Paramount Chief that Machinga is going to enjoy a good share of development projects since it is the wish of President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to develop the eastern region of Machinga, Balata and Mangochi.
“But that is if the Council staff can work harder and be creative,” he said. “The whole Eastern Region is under our microscope.
“Taxpayers money must not be abused. If we must deliver, corruption must be nipped in the bud. Our vision is to develop rural areas — to make growth rural centres into what the cities have,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :