President Peter Mutharika has denied allegations that he interfered with the procurement process at the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) involving K1.4 billion and has since warned to drag to court his detractors.
Mutharika, through his personal aide Ben Phiri, is alleged to have influenced CMST to award a K1.4 billion tender to Malawi Pharmacies.
It is alleged that Central Medical Trust held a meeting and decided to award the Billion-worth tender to Malawi Pharmacies under the guise of the ‘Buy Malawian Campaign’. Malawi Pharmacies were a single bidder, contrary to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
The deal which was finalised in March almost fell off because the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) had refused to have it sanctioned as it was deemed illegal, according to Mutharika’s fierce critic Allan Ntata.
“In May 2015, in order to avoid being found to have done a corrupt deal, Central Medical trust then wrote to the ODPP to try and have the deal sanctioned. The ODPP refused to sanction the procurement and instructed the Central Medical Stores to revoke the award of the tender for being illegal.
“It was at this point that serious exchange of words emanated between ODPP, state house and the medical Stores, which resulted in the capitulation of the ODPP after [Ben Phiri] threatened the Director of Public Procurement that he would be fired,” claimed Ntata.
Recenty, Phiri resigned from his post of Special Adviser and Assistant to the President, after a series of corruption allegations against him, mainly originating from Ntata.
But State House Press Secretary, Gerald Viola said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times Monday that such allegations, being propagated by some disgruntled individuals, are aimed at denting the image and integrity of President Mutharika.
He therefore said Mutharika, just like any other person, has got a right to seek court redress where he feels to have been infringed upon.
“As a warning to these individuals, His Excellency the State President like any other Malawian citizen has got a right to seek court redress from the courts of law from any person seen to have libeled him personally hence his action to sue Mr Z Allan Ntata in the alleged K92 billion case,” reads the statement in part.
Viola further said Mutharika cannot influence any procurement process in any public institution, let alone CMST.
“While it has not been the wish of the President to be commenting on baseless allegations, it is important to set the record straight as the allegations being peddled have the potential to undermine the integrity of the Presidency.
“In view of this, the State House wishes to set the record straight as follows: that the President either directly or through anybody has never dealt with the alleged Malawi Pharmacies:
“The President either directly or through anybody does not and cannot be involved ,interfere, or influence any procurement process in any public institution, let alone the Central Medical Stores Trust.”
State House said Mutharika will not be drawn into commenting on every allegation that his critics will advance.–Additional reporting by Green Muheya, Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :