The public protector, Office of the Ombudsman will investigate the theft of 4.2 million litres of diesel for generators that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi(Escom) hired from Aggreko Limited to reduce prolonged power blackouts.
According to a letter seen by Nyasa Times sent to Escom by the Ombudsman Martha Chizuma dated December 18 2018, her office office has in recent months been observing a public outcry on power utility body’s alleged irregularities and mismanagement of the fuel.
“It is my considered view that loss of such a huge amount of fuel cannot happen without systematic and administrative failures within Escom,” reads Chizuma’s letter.
“My office’s mandate demands that the loss be properly investigated and appropriate remedies put in place,” it adds.
The Ombudsman informs Escom that the letter serves to notify the corporation that “in accordance with the legal mandate under both the Constitution and the Ombudsman Act, my office has decided to properly investigate this issue.”
Escom has been asked to nominate a senior person within the institution who is familiar with the issues and with authority to speak on behalf of the organisation to liaise with the office of the Ombudsman by January 11 2019.
Escom chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya has since said the institution will comply with the investigations.
“We will comply with the directive by sending our director of system and market operator to appear before you not later than 11th January, 2018,” Chiwaya said a letter sent to Ombudsman dated December 19 2018.
A report of the 4.2 million litres theft compiled by the Escom head of security indicates that the company suspects collusion between drivers, fuel attendants, guards and Aggreko staff.
The issues came to light when State Vice-President Saulos Chilima revealed at his UTM party political rally about the fuel theft and misprocurement of goods worth K5 billion.