Former chief secretary to government Lloyd Muhara, a judge at the High Court, has beem implicated to have been the the kingpin of the procurement of the multi-billion kwacha generators contract at the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) which were awarded to Aggreko in November 2017 dubiously.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has confirmed it is conducting investigation relating to the procurement of the K57 billion generators.
In August 2017, the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) stopped Escom from awarding a contract to supply 78 megawatts (MW) diesel-powered generators to Aggreko Power Solutions because of procurement irregularities.
However, in January 2018, former pesident Peter Mutharika commissioned 55MW diesel-powered generators in Blantyre that Escom—using a single sourcing procurement method—hired from Aggreko Power Solutions, the same company the ODPP had ordered the cancellation of its contract.
Muhara has been implicated that he was influencing events to have the geneset deal together with Collins Magalasi the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) boss and Escom chairperson as they allegedly had their cut on it.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has since through its Whistleblowing Initiative, written ACB to probe the deal and how Muhara, State House officials and Escom made recommendations to Escom to hire companies without goiung theoufh the bididng process.
In the initial procurement process, nine companies, Jocobsen Elekro AS, Aggreko, AKSA Enerji Rental Power, APR Energy, Almagamated Power Solution (APS), Altaaq Global CAT, So Energy International, Greenheart Energy Limited and Sino Hydro were shortlisted for supply of three generators that were to be stationed in three lots each at Mapanga in Blantyre, Kanengo in Lilongwe and Chinyama in Kasungu.
An Escom evaluation team then recommended that lots 1 and 2 be awarded to APR Energy and lot 3 to Aggreko International Projects. However, another evaluation was undertaken that awarded all the three lots to Aggreko, a move that forced some of the bidding companies to complain to ODPP.
In its findings, the ODPP faulted the evaluation process, saying it was not property concluded and ordered the cancellation of the awarding of the contract to Aggreko Power Solutions and asked Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) to restart the procurement process.
Malawi opted for diesel-powered generators as an interim measure to improve power supply in the wake of reduced hydro-electric power generation following low water levels in Lake Malawi and its sole outlet, the Shire River, where over 90 percent of the country’s electricity is produced.
Meanwhile, ACB is also probing an alleged theft of fuel at National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) meant for emergency diesel generators at Escom from HRDC complaint.
According to a letter dated July 28 from HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence to Matemba, Nocma went into an agreement with Escom to supply fuel between December 2017 and December 2018 following approval by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).
The letter states that while the contract expired in December 2018, Nocma entered into a more expensive contract with Sahara Inc of Egypt for the supply of the fuel, a development that resulted in Nocma making losses.
In December 2018, the office of the Ombudsman also launched an investigation into theft of about 4.2 million litres of fuel at Escom meant for the emergency generators procured from Aggreko.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :