An influential weekly newspaper has expressed worry over “wanton disregards of public procurement laws” and questions the integrity of the internal procurement committee members of the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) over the controversial payment the contract a whopping K239million in the project that is shrouded in controversy.
The water supplier has confirmed K239million to Sawa group for the construction of the pavement in project previously fund by the World Bank.
But the LWB officials claim it was just an extension of the project that the World Bank previously funded.
The board also says the project came about following the variation order and because the former project has a defects period of two years.
It its Weekend Nation editorial comment, the paper says what is controversial is why the LWB funded the extension works if the project is part of the World Bank financed project.
“What is clear is the LLWB did not ask the World Bank or the constructor to fund the pavement works because the previous project was concluded. We thus have the problem buying the LLWB story that the bill of quantities for the contactor show that the pavements were part of the original contract and that the World Bank failed to complete it,” reads the editorial
Our concern, it says, is the wanton disregards of public procurement laws. Not putting the project up for competition through open bidding left the board vulnerable to abuse through overpricing and outright corruption.
“Such cases are becoming too many in the public sector and are short-changing tax payer against background that there is absolutely no effort by the government to fight corruption. We also want to question the integrity of the LWB internal procurement committee to ratify and illegal transaction.”
But Lilongwe chief executive officer Alfonso Chikuni claims the pavement works were part of the contacts that the World Banks preciously funded.
“When the project came to an end the board resolved to extend the contractor’s work. This is allowed because we had defects period of two years,” said Chikuni.
World Bank Communications officer Zeria Banda said the World Bank project has no component of the construction of the pavement.
The papers say it’s time for government to be worried “about this wanton flouting of laws and should make an effort to put an end to it by taking appropriate action.”
Records, according to the paper, indicate that LWB has honoured three invoices from the contractor, Sawa Group, totalling K239 million based on a variation order—an instruction stating that the scope of work in a construction contract has changed in form of an addition, substitution or omission.
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