March 1, 2021

Lilongwe-Mgona Residents Question Bridge Construction Project

Residents of Mgona township have mounted pressure on authorities to investigate the whereabouts of 23 bags of cement and K280,000 donated by Demeter Seed company towards Almeda bridge which connects Mgona township and the industrial site of Area 29 in Lilongwe.

It is believed that following the outcry of many crossing the old bridge, Demeter Seed Company came to the rescue of the residents that there must be a new bridge on site to ease problems the people have been encountering moving to and fro between Mgona and Area 29.

The bridge was constructed during the reign of the UDF led government under the late Mrs. Mary Kaphwereza Banda as Member of Parliament and to date the bridge is in a very dilapidated state which has forced individuals to build a small bridge adjacent to it and the owners are cashing in K50 for a single crossing.

It has also been established that money amounting to K4.9 million was mismanaged by the Board to oversee the operations of Water Users Association [WUA] for the area. There are allegations that some officers, Mr. Bentry Nkhata, Getrude Nkhata and Senior Group Village headman Chimoka are behind the mismanagement of the funds for the Association.

According to an inside source, it is alleged that the family members, the Nkhata’s, and the WUA Board chairman, who was a signatory to the bank transactions, connived to abuse such a big amount of money, saying beside them accepting their wrong doings, the money has not been repaid to this date.

The source said even though there have been calls to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book, nothing has been done to this date and the culprits have ganged up accusing their Maria Ward councilor, Patrick Makumba of stealing 23 bags of cement so that the community looks at them as innocent people.

…”They even passed a message to Rainbow Television to air in its news cast beaming that councilor Patrick Makumba has stolen the 23 bags of cement meant for the Almeda bridge to enrich himself at the expense of the ignorance and stupidity of the residents for staying quiet and watching at the development happening,’’……claimed the source.

But, in a telephone interview, Maria Ward Councilor for Lilongwe City Council, Patrick Makumba, dismissed the news that he stole bags of cement as false, saying after noting that cement was being abused, he took it for safety to one of the businessmen who owns a Hardware in the area, Mr. James Tembo.

Makumba said he was shocked to hear news on Rainbow Television alleging that he stole the bags of cement saying the one who gave that station the news wanted to tarnish his name and he is appealing to the investigators to come to his area to establish the truth of the matter.

…”What is most worrying is that we have been together with my MP, Hon. Alfred Jiya , in the procurement of the project materials for the bridge and is keeping the K280,000 money, nothing is being mentioned of his name but only me,” Makumba lamented.

He said he is optimistic that sooner or later the truth shall prevail, claiming he is innocent and is ready to cooperate with those that will be coming to his area to investigate the truth of the matter so that those who abused the project funds are apprehended and justice is served.

By Vincent Gunde

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