Skeletons have started coming out of the closets at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra). A leaked investigation statement into some corrupt practices at the regulatory body reveals how contracts are given to mother-in-laws and highly connected ruling party cadres and also shows the impunity of plunder of state resources.
According to the document in our possession, the collusion and systemaic plunder is being led by the beleaguered Director General Godfrey Itaye and some members of his ‘inner circle’ at the institution.
Mother-in-law should ‘eat’ too
According to the document, Godfrey Redson Itaye instructed his procurement team to offer K4 million contracts to two women, one of whom is his mother-in-law.
“It was around March, 2016 when the Head of Procurement Department, Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA, called the Procurement Officer to his office and introduced him to two women and went on to inform the Procurement Officer that he had been instructed by the Director General, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE, that the Procurement Unit should offer contracts to the two women, namely Mrs. M. NSEULA and Mrs. GOMANI, trading as KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS respectively,” reads the statement in part.
Prior to this meeting, the two women had been frequenting Macra, especially the office of Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA, the statement reveals.
“During this meeting, Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA gave the Procurement Officer two sets of completed Request for Quotations (RFQ’s). The first set comprised three quotations (in one envelope) for the supply and delivery of Medium Laser jet colour Printers and 500GB External hard drives. The second set comprised three quotations also (in one envelope) for the supply and delivery of 55 inch LED Smart Television sets. Normally, Requests for Quotations (RFQ’s) from different suppliers do not come in one envelope but rather in individual envelopes,” reads the statement.
MACRA does not have a prequalified list of suppliers and normally the Procurement Unit relies on Letters of Introduction that are sent or delivered to its office but these two suppliers (KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS )had not submitted any letter of introduction prior to the award of these contracts, reveals the statement.
Ngalawa is said to have instructed his procurement officer to do an analysis and recommendations of the quotations.
“The first recommendation was that the contract for the supply and delivery of Eight (8) Medium Laser jet Colour Printers and Five (5) External Hard Drives 500GB be awarded to KAIKALION AGENCY at the total cost of MK4, 931,736.24 (Four Million Nine Hundred Thirty One Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty Six Kwacha Twenty Four Tambala). It must be pointed out that the suppliers who competed under this first set of RFQs were KAIKALION AGENCY, MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS, and MARSHA GENERAL DEALERS.”
“The second recommendation was that contract for the supply and delivery of Four (4) 55 Inch Smart LED Television Sets be awarded to MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS at the total cost of MK4,950,000.00 (Four Million Nine Hundred Fifty Thousand Kwacha).”
“The suppliers who competed under this second set of RFQs were KAIKALION AGENCY, MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS, and MARSHA GENERAL DEALERS. It must be pointed out that at the time when the quotation analysis reports were being done, it was noted that the suppliers for the two procurement subjects [(i) Laser jet colour Printers and 500GB External hard drives (ii) 55 Inch Smart LED Television Sets] were the same, namely KAIKALION AGENCY, MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS, and MARSHA GENERAL DEALERS except that the contracts were awarded to different suppliers namely KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS.”
“The recommendations to award contracts to the two suppliers was made were based on the fact that they emerged the lowest evaluated bidders respectively.”
“Upon completion of the quotation analysis reports, the reports were taken to the office of Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA for his approval and after the approval, the Procurement Officer was instructed to go back to his office and create KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS as vendors in the ACCPAC system (Note that ACCPAC is the system that is used at MACRA) and issued Local Purchase Orders (LPO) number 2030 and 2031 for KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS respectively.”
“When the LPO’s were approved in the system, they were printed and taken for approval. It should be noted that all the Local Purchase Orders were duly signed by Mr. Elvin MWAPASA who is the Deputy Director [Finance] and the Director General, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE.”
“ It should further be noted that good governance required a declaration of interest from the Director General and that the LPOs should not have been signed by him as an interested party. The LPOs were collected by Mrs M. NSEULA Mrs. GOMANI respectively. Thereafter, the other three copies of LPO’s were distributed to the Stores, Accounts and the respective procurement files.”
The statement explains that MACRA’s payment terms are that when a supplier has delivered goods or services, payment is expected to be ready within 30 days but when KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS had delivered the goods to MACRA, payment was processed within the shortest period and the cheques for both KAIKALION AGENCY and MULHOTENI GENERAL DEALERS were collected by Mrs. M. NSEULA.
“It should be noted that payments for these transactions were done within a week despite that payments are normally done twice a month that is on the 15th and on the 30th of every month. This can be evidenced by the copies of payment vouchers for the respective procurement subjects which Mrs. M. NSEULA signed for,” reveals the statement.
The statement further said there was no any declaration of conflict of interest by Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE in the two procurement files and a few weeks later it was noted that the supplier/vendor KAIKALION AGENCY had been deleted in the ACCPAC system and this deletion could only be done by the ACCPAC administrator, Mr. Phillip NAKOMA who has got overriding rights or Macra IT Officer (s) because the IT Officers have administrators’ passwords.
“You may also wish to note that registered owner of KAIKALION AGENCY, Mrs. M. NSEULA is the mother of Slyvia NSEULA who happens to be the wife of MACRA’s Director General, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE,” discloses the statement.
The contract for the supply and delivery of Medium Laser jet Colour Printers was referenced as MACRA/IPC/OSSP/2016/07 and the contract for the supply and delivery ofFour (4) 55 Inch Smart LED Television Sets was referenced as MACRA/IPC/OSSP/TV/2016/07.
DPP gurus goldmine
Ruling DPP gurus did not want to be left out in the plunder as they made sure that they also got huge contracts.
The procurement team was strictly instructed that a contract for the installation of car tracking and fleet management systems should be awarded to none other than CarTrack Limited. Guess who own Car Track Limited? You guessed right, DPP Administrative Secretary Richard Makondi!
“Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA, who is the Procurement Specialist and Head of MACRA’s Procurement Unit informed the Procurement Officer during a one-on-one meeting that he was under instruction by the Director General, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE, that he should do everything possible to make sure that the contract for the Installation of Car tracking& Fleet Management System should be awarded to CARTRACK Limited.”
“It was later established that the contract had been awarded to CARTRACK Limited at a contract value of MK13.1 Million. It should also be pointed out that despite the MK13.1 Million being a fixed contract price, MACRA still pays huge monthly subscription fees to CARTRACK Limited,” reads the statement.
The minister of local government Kondwani Nakhumwa who is embroiled in another K4 billion controversial parliamentary funding for MPs is also implicated in the plunder at Macra.
“MACRA procured 450 Rolls of DPP cloth from MAPETO DAVID WHITEHEAD AND SONS and the driver who came to collect the cloth asked the Procurement Officer if he could give him the directions to FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS where he was supposed to collect MACRA calendars.”
“It should be noted that the truck that came to collect the DPP cloth as well as the alleged calendars was from Abiti Gambatu Trucking which belongs to Hon Kondwani Nakhumwa MP and MCRA paid an astronomical figure of MK1, 275, 000.00 being payment for transporting the alleged goods from Blantyre to Lilongwe,” reveals the statement.
The Missing Invoice
It was discovered that one invoice was missing and a procurement officer was told to ‘turn the building down’ in order to find the missing invoice so that officials should fulfill their plunder mission.
Phone calls were being made from Geneva, Switzerland asking for the K67 million invoice for calendars deal which never existed but millions were paid anyway.
“Documents in the procurement department indicate that the contract for designing, supply and delivery of 3000 MACRA calendars for the year 2017 was awarded to PROMOTION KINGS at a total cost of MK20, 795, 250.00 and that FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS failed at the preliminary stage of the evaluation process for 2017 calendars for submitting a non-responsive bid document,” reads the statement.
“A few days later, the Procurement Officer was called by Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA asking him the whereabouts of invoices from FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS.”
“The Procurement Officer told him that he had not received any invoice from FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS and that he was not even aware if there was any transaction which had taken place between MACRA and FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS. Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA then went on to say that he had information that the invoice was delivered to MACRA and in the name of the Procurement Officer since all fingers were pointing at him. He then asked the Procurement Officer to immediately stop whatever he was doing and look for the invoice.”
“The Procurement Officer then asked Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA if it was possible for him to go to FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS and get a duplicate invoice but Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA vehemently denied and insisted that he wanted the original invoice,” reads the statement.
“Few weeks later, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE and Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA went to SWITZERLAND and while there, Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA called the Procurement Officer asking if he had time to look for the invoices and if he had found the invoice (s) from FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS. It is on record that the Procurement Officer told him that he had not yet found the invoice and that if he had found it then he would have informed him.”
“A few days later Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA wrote an email in which he said that he had been seriously warned that if the invoice will not be found then there shall be serious repercussions.”
“A few weeks later one of the Finance Officers, Miss Limba MKANDAWIRE in the presence of Mrs. Mercy Chilimba who is MACRA’s Projects Officer, brought to the office of the Procurement Officer the much sought for invoice [for FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS] asking him to process it for payment.
“The Procurement Officer therefore asked her where she found the invoice and she told me that she found the invoice in a file but did not know who left it there. The Procurement Officer immediately took the invoice to Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA’s office and asked him if that was the invoice he had been looking for. Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA acknowledged that indeed that was the invoice that he had been looking for and he took the invoice.”
“During the brief period that the Procurement Officer had the invoice, it was noted that the delivery note that was attached to the invoice which was valued at MK67, 500,000.00 (Sixty Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha) was signed by Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA,” reads the statement.
“On 26th October, 2017, there was an article on NYASA TIMES in which it was reported that MK135, 000,000.00 (One Hundred Thirty Five Million Kwacha) had vanished from MACRA through a ghost contract with FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS. In the story it was reported that MACRA made payment to FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS through cheque # 23414 of National Bank in respect to invoice number(s) 000431193 and 00043246. This is when I knew that payment was facilitated for the invoice and not only one invoice but two invoices valued at MK67, 500.000.00 each totaling to MK135 Million.”
“It should also be noted that the payment for MK135 Million to FATTANI OFFSET PRINTERS was done without following procedures as it was done without a Local Purchase Order and as at 30th October, 2017, NO single calendar had been delivered and it has been established that MACRA does not have any record and or a procurement file for this transaction. As such there is NO any manual Goods Received Note and or an ACCPAC system generated Receipt Note issued to acknowledge receipt of the calendars,” reads the statement in part.
Former Chairperson benefited too
Former Chairperson of the Macra board did not want to sit idle and let the plunder pass her by. Mervis Mangulenje who was sacked from the board benefited with a 5KVA generator meant for Macra Lilongwe office.
“The Administration Section requested for a generator for MACRA’s LILONGWE Office and the contract was awarded to ZAONE GENERAL DEALERS who delivered the generator to MACRA office in BLANTYRE at the total cost of MK998,000.00 (Nine Hundred Ninety Eight Thousand Kwacha).
“Before the generator was sent to LILONGWE Office, the generator went missing. The missing of the generator was uncovered when Mrs. Effie KADZEYA, who is MACRA’s Administration Officer, was asking Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA in his office as to where the generator had gone.”
“Mrs. Effie KADZEYA informed Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA that the issue of the missing generator and the subsequent allegation that it had been taken to the house of the Board Chairperson, Miss Mervis MANGULENJE was brought to her attention by one of MACRA drivers who is under her supervision.”
“After Mrs. Effie KADZEYA had gone back to her office, I asked if the story was true that the 5KVA generator that was supplied by ZAONE GENERAL DEALERS had indeed been taken to the MACRA’s Board Chairpersons house Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA confirmed that it was very true and he went on to say it was an instruction from the Director General, Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE.”
“He then instructed the Procurement Officer to commence another procurement process for a bigger generator say 10KVA for Lilongwe Office. The procurement process was conducted and HISCO Limited emerged as the successful bidder and an LPO was issued in our ACCPAC system but was not delivered to HISCO Limited as there were some administrative issues to be sorted out first at LILONGWE Offices before the installation of the generator.”
“You may also wish to note that the owner of ZAONE GENERAL DEALERS whose number is 0882747606 has a position at Mlakhowa Lomwe and the same applies to the Board Chairperson who also has an influential position at the same group.”
“It is alleged that Zaone General Dealers were introduced to MACRA’s Procurement Unit by Miss Mervis MANGULENJE through Mr. Godfrey Redson ITAYE and they have been getting contracts from Mr. Joseph Bauti NGALAWA, the latest one being the supply & delivery of Black & White printers for Telecentre Projects.”
“It should be noted that as at 30th September, 2017 the 5KVA generator which was supplied by ZAONE GENERAL DEALERS had not yet been delivered at MACRA’s LILONGWE Offices which are situated at GREEN HERITAGE House in Area 13 as it is allegedly at Miss Mervis MANGULENJE’s house,” reads the statement.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :