International books publisher, Pearson Education Africa, is embroiled in a corruption scandal following a refusal to supply their secondary school books to the winning bidder of the Malawi Government Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST), Nyasa Times can reveal.
The Malawi Protection of Basic Services (PSB) Programme (Ref ICB 025/CKP/IPC/MoEST/ADB/2016-17/1) was won by local company ICTC Malawi Ltd, who among other publishers, contracted Pearson Education Africa to supply approved Strides titles.
Pearson Education has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Malawi government supplying text books for learners and teachers but during the 2017 they refused to supply ICTC Malawi Ltd who won most of the contract together with a joint venture of Mallory International and Maneno Enterprises.
Nyasa Times learnt form Ministry of Education that Pearson Education Africa through local agent Anglia Book Distributors Ltd, upon refusing to supply books to ICTC on 22 December 2017 submitted a quotation to supply the same books for US$1 608 380.42 then offering an inducement discount of 25% (US$402 09.11).
ICTC Malawi are supplying the same quantity and quality books published by Pearson education at US$750 000. MoEST is being ripped off.
“We refer to the letter from Fiona Macgregor, the Managing Director of Pearson Education Africa dated 8th December 2017. The consignment from Pearson Education Africa, having been inspected last year, is ready for dispatch. As we are unable to supply these titles to ICTC Ltd due to reasons outlined and explained in previous correspondence, we seek your assistance to move this issue forward,” Nigel Doyle, Managing Director for Anglia Book Distributors Ltd said in his letter dated 23rd January 2018 seen by Nyasa Times.
Pearson Education Africa refused to supply books to ICTC Malawi alleging fraudulent bank guarantee and adherence to their anti-bribery and corruption policies.
When ICTC Malawi were contacted as to what course of action they were taking in view that Pearson/Anglia have “captured MoEST” holding them to ransom, Chief Executive Officer Partridge Shycal said:“I am not aware that Anglia Book Distributors Ltd who are an agent of Pearson Education Africa are discussing the contract to supply behind us with MoEST officials. I cannot comment on that.”
But Shycal said ICTC Malawi are amused that after making full settlement of the account before any single book has been delivered, Pearson Education are still refusing to dispatch books which have already been inspected at their cost and approved by MoEST officials.
“Ironically, they printed these books using the money we gave them as advance payment and now they want to supply the same behind our back?” he said.
However, Nyasa Times understands that acting in cohort with their local distributor and gent Anglia Book Stores Ltd, Pearson Education donated K17 million worth of learning materials as an ‘inducement’ to obtain favour upon their quotation which was before MoEST officials for consideration.
A letter from Anglia to MoEST dated 25 January 2018 seen by Nyasa Times, said they publish the very popular “Strides” series of school textbooks as well as a wide range of supplementary learning and teaching resources, as well as higher educational, vocational and technical training resources.
“You may be interested to learn that, on behalf of Pearson Education, we will be donating approximately Kwacha 17 Million in value, of design and technology course textbooks to various technical training institutions throughout the country and we hope to start these donations tomorrow (25th January 2018),” reads the letter in part.
Sources at MoEST have confided in Nyasa Times that Pearson Education who are denying Malawian students of accessing the materials and virtually holding them hostage, risk being banned and having their books (titles) being dropped from approved list.
One top official said the behaviour of Pearson refusing to supply to a legally contracted consolidator when all inspection, approvals and full payment has already been made is unacceptable..
Lilongwe based Secondary School teacher John Pundi expressed dismay at the behaviours of the multinational companies who milk poor countries without mercy and their leaders like Donald Trump president of USA claiming that we are ‘shithole’ countries.
“If we do not stand up against these multinational companies, Malawi is doomed as a shithole country. We need to put this to a stop and I say bravo to our top officials at the Ministry (MoEST) for refusing to be abused and being shitholes.”
The Forum for National Development (FND) commenting on the development, said Pearson and Anglica are talking about the same books which they printed with ICTC advance payment and the books got approved at the costs of ICTC who took Ministry officials for inspection in South Africa.
“Even when the books are not in the country if ICTC went an extra mile and paid them in full. One wonders how can that contract be hijacked in such a manner, Otherwise, their interest is now well exposed and we are watching,” FND national coordinator Fryson Chonzi said.
He accused Pearson of pursuing their interests at the expenses of a poor child out there and holding Ministry of Education at ransom.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :