Pressure forces BT City Council to drag manager to court

The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has finally dragged to court operations manager for Madison Holdings Limited, a company the Council outsourced for traffic management services in the city’s Central Business District (CBD).

The development comes after Nyasa Times exposed the Council that it is clinging to a company which fraudulently printed traffic management tickets bearing the Council’s logo in an attempt to evade remitting money to it. The Council lost close to K3 million in less than a month due to the racket.

Police have confirmed that the case will come before the Blantyre Magistrate Court this week but the manner in which Council is handling the case has drawn anger from its employees and other independent observers.

A senior police prosecutor at the Blantyre Police Station wondered why the Council has only opened a case against an individual, a Mr. Malikebu, and not the company it is doing business with.

He told Nyasa Times in an interview: “It is funny but we will see the direction of the whole case at the court. The Council is suing an individual for illegally producing tickets and yet the Council did not enter into any agreement with him neither was he working as an agent of the Council. Mr. Malikebu was an employee of Madison, a company BCC is in agreement with.”

A source at the Council’s Treasury Department very close to the case was however optimistic that although Council management has tried to twist the issue in order to face save the company from being disqualified by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) the truth shall still be known.

“For sure, the Anti Corruption Bureau [ACB], as an interested party, will pick up some pieces and some seniors who are linked to the issue will be nicked at the Council.

“In fact, people are aware that the prosecuting team made up of police, the Council’s Legal Department and the Council’s outsourced Legal Counsel from Naphambo and Co. Law firm has been misinformed that’s why they are suing an individual thinking the ACB will spare them,” said the source.

Reports gathered by Nyasa Times show that all is not well at Madison as Malikebu together with another suspended supervisor, a Mr. Mpopo, have vowed to reveal the dirty deals the company has been doing with some senior employees at the Council including how the issue of printing the illegal tickets was hatched.

Our investigations have revealed that Mpopo is a brother to BCC’s Deputy Director of Administrative Services Robert Grevulo Mpopo and between them it appears there is more information than what meets the eye.

Further investigations have revealed that Mpopo’s supervisory post at Madison has since been given to a mere driver whom the company wants to testify against the two people in the case.

Ironically, since the scam happened three months ago, BCC management continues to doing business with Madison Holdings, against a recommendation from its internal auditor to terminate the contract for breach of contract and mistrust in its dealings.

BCC awarded Madison Private Holdings a three year contract to be collecting traffic management fees (parking fees) in Blantyre Central Business District (CBD) but barely a month the company tricked the council.

Previously, the Engineering Department of BCC used to administer the collection of traffic management fees.

Under their contract, which started last August and is subjected to review every year, Madson is supposed to buy receipt books from the Council.

But the company only purchased the receipt books during its first month of the contract before it dubiously started printing at an identified place in Lilongwe and it stayed for over three full weeks without buying the books from BCC, a development that made BCC suspicious.

On average Madson was purchasing 100 books of 50 receipts each per day from BCC. Each receipt book costs K1400 translating into K840 000 a week (Monday to Saturday).

After noting this, BCC sent a team of security personnel, auditors and engineers into the streets where they uncovered different receipt books but still bearing Council logo.

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