The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI], has written a letter to the Anti–Corruption Bureau [ACB] to investigate the suspicious procurement procedures of the Southern Region Water Board [SRWB] that have led the parastatal to award a contract to a very expensive foreign based company, Algahanin/Plem Construction Company.
CDEDI says it believes that the matter is of public interest since the Mangochi Portable Water Supply project is being undertaken using funds that have been sourced through a loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development which will be repaid using tax payers’ money, adding that the procurement process was marred by corrupt practices.
The organization quotes the, Friday 23rd October 2020, Nation newspaper which published a story, K10 Billion Water Project Deal Raises Eyebrows, SRWB leaves lowest bidder with MK1.6 Billion difference, which revealed that the project shall cost Malawians MK1.6 Billion more than what the lowest bidder had offered.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, dated 26 October 2020, CDEDI says according to the evaluation report it has seen, the lowest bidder passed both preliminary examination and detailed technical evaluation, but was not picked purportedly because the bidder’s pricing offer showed lack of understanding of the technicalities and complexities of the project.
CDEDI says its investigations have revealed that this lowest bidder has done similar work for SRWB before, an indication that the bidder is well conversant with the project in question if the bidder’s track record is anything to go by.
…”The awarding of this contract to a foreign based company comes at a time when the Director General Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority [PPDA] had issued a circular Ref. Number 01/22 dated 1st July, 2019, that a procurement entity shall ensure prioritization of 60 percent indigenous Malawians and 40 percent others for national competitive bidding,’’…reads part of the letter.
CDEDI adds what SRWB has done is very similar to a decision that was made by the Ministry of Health to award a contract to a foreign based bidder to supply ambulances to the Ministry.
The organization mentions it is also worth noting that the appetite for foreign based contractors is not strange to Malawi for similar strategies were employed by the previous regimes as a way of siphoning money from the donor partners by some selfish politicians and individuals.
By Vincent Gunde