M’mbelwa officials in wrongful enrichment over LDF projects

M’mbelwa district council officials have been rocked in wrongful enrichment where some senior officials have formed companies and dubiously award themselves contracts under local development fund (LDF).

Nyasa Times investigations have revealed that the council’s director of planning and development Humpreys Gondwe, driver Damiano Kalambo and internal auditor Bentry Tchongwe are running a company called Kuneni building contractors.

The other construction company Smart building constructors is being run by the district rural housing officer Othene Thera and a revenue collector at the council Chester Banda.

The two companies have been implementing development projects under the LDF such as construction of primary school teacher’s houses in Mzimba.

Gondwe: Director of planning

Sources at the district council confirmed to Nyasa Times that the construction companies are dubiously awarded construction projects for the teacher’s houses without following proper procurement and bidding processes.

“This is an inside job where these companies are awarded contracts without following procurement standards because the owners of the construction companies are also bosses at the council,” said our source who pleaded for anonymity.

A single teacher’s house under LDF standards costs K 2, 380, 000. 00. A contractor is paid K300, 000 per single house while the remainder goes into purchasing of construction materials and administration.

Our investigations also revealed that the two companies have constructed almost all primary schools in Mzimba under the local development fund.

Some of the teacher’s houses constructed by Kuneni and Smart building construction companies include; Kaulira in Mzimba Solola constituency, Mzambazi, Yakuwata and Kanyankhunde in Mzimba central constituency, Choma, Lusangazi, Emcizini and Milimo in Mzimba north east constituency, Thofu, Madise, Katope and kabenda in Mzimba north constituency.

Others are; Kathibi, Chigude, Mbwiliwiza and Chiwembe in Mzimba East constituency and Chavirwa, Vwandamile, Mphimbi and mateula in Mzimba west constituency.

Director of public works at the council Amon Chisimba feigned ignorance of the construction companies when contacted on his mobile phone, saying “the council has all the registered companies implementing LDF projects.”

However, our sources confirmed that the names of the two companies were drafted on the list of the council’s registered contractors but were later removed after it had raised eyebrows among some contractors in the district.

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