Mzuzu City Council under corruption probe on poles

Malawi’s graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has commenced discreet inquiries at the Mzuzu City Council regarding the awarding of multi-million kwacha contract to produce poles for street lights.

Apparently there are concerns that the concrete poles are of poor quality but very expensive.

The MK65 million job was awarded to local contractors, Kangawa Building Contractors and Mulla contractors. The two companies will produce a total of 500 concrete poles at an estimated costs of MK130,000 each.

Mzuzu traffic lights. Photo credit: Steve Sharra/Africa Aphukila blog

ACB officials in Mzuzu who spoke to NyasaTimes on the condition of anonymity said they have received several complaints from some members of the Mzuzu Citizen Forum regarding how the tender was awarded to inexperienced contractors.

In the absence of Councillors, the Mzuzu Citizen Forum acts as the de facto local authority.

“The complaints also indicate that money must have changed hands so that the job is awarded to these contractors,” the ACB official said.

But two weeks ago an official from the Council’s Engineering depart defended the hiring of the said contractors saying they were trying to build capacity in companies based in the north.

“We share the same concerns that quality is not good but we just want to conclude their contracts so that we hire others,” said the official when queried about the poor quality of the poles during a public meeting.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and DPP Presidential candidate Professor Arthur Mutharika two weeks ago symbolically switched on street lights in a K110 million projects aimed to rehabilitate the lights in the city.

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