Newly appointed Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jacob Hara, clarified the reasons behind the ministry’s defiance of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)’s order to reconstitute an Evaluation Committee.
The Bureau gave the ministry up to December 18, 2021, to reconstitute the Committee, which was to re-evaluate the bids and identify a new contractor for the Marka and Bangula Railway Project.
But as of Thursday, December 22, 2021, the ministry had not yet complied with the order.
When asked why they defied the order, Hara, who spoke exclusive to Nyasa Times on Wednesday, cited a number of reasons for the ministry’s failure to comply with the order was due to a number of reasons.
He said, among others, that the bids had already expired when they convened a meeting on Monday to discuss the matter.
“We wrote the Bureau about it and they understood our position. And they have responded to us this morning. We are committed to complying with the order,” said Hara.
He said the ministry will soon float another tender in relation to the project.
ACB Director General Martha Chizuma said the Bureau is patiently waiting for the ministry to fulfill its obligations.
“So, let us wait,” said Chizuma in a brief interview. However, the development has not pleased Centre for Mindset Change (CMC), which has been pushing for the expedited process of identifying a new contractor for the MK48.2billion project.
In a separate interview, CMC executive director Philip Kamangirah argued that the defiance of an order from a legally constituted body does not portray a good picture for the ministry.
Kamangirah further said the act sets a bad precedent.
“It is worrisome to note that officials from the ministry could decide to defy orders from a legally established institution like that of ACB. Of course, we are aware of the shoddy deals and corrupt activities that continue existing between Mota-Engil and some Ministry of Transport and Public Works officials,” he said.
He warned that, as a governance institution, they would fight to the end until those involved in this corruption cartel are brought to book.
The Marka-Bangula Railway section has four stations, which are considered for rehabilitation. They include Mark Station, Nsanje Station, Tengani Station, and Bangula Station.
The contract was awarded to the Portuguese Contractor, Mota Engil Africa, at the initial sum of US$70,035,427.94.
The rehabilitation works commenced in March 2018 and the initial period of performance was for 14 Months, which implied that the project should have been completed in May 2019.
In September 2021, ACB stopped the Ministry of Transport and Public Works from awarding the contract for the upgrading of the same project over corruption allegations.
Mota-Engil Africa emerged as the successful bidder with the lowest price of MK48, 244, 861, 524.98 against two others, China Railway (MK59, 906, 673, 465.11) and China Civil Engineering (MK79 766 540 032.76).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :