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Ahmed Dassu Ask ACB To Investigate President Chakwera On NOCMA Contract

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Open Letter

The President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus Chakwera
State House
Lilongwe

copied to:
Director General Anti-Corruption Bureau – Ms Martha Chizuma
The British High Commissioner Mr David Deer
US Ambassador HE David Young
European Union (EU) Ambassador HE Rune Skinnebach
22nd June, 2022

Excellency

When you opened the Industry Lab, you told Malawians that Malawi’s economy has been ‘sick for some time with multiple organs failing’ and that your government will ‘treat the sickness’.

As Malawi ranks fourth in the world in the percentage of its people living in extreme poverty, which percentage continues to increase under your leadership, I heartily agree that Malawi is indeed ‘sick with multiple failing organs’.

However, I put it to you, Excellency, that you are the person least equipped to ‘treat the sicknesses’, for the very cause of the sickness cannot cure the sickness. Let me explain. To treat Malawi’s sickness, we need an honourable leader who is also committed to fighting corruption, which under your leadership continues to increase, placing a heavy burden on the shoulders of every Malawian.

Malawians suffer the burden of corruption in government and public sector every day. As yesterday, MERA announced price increases for fuel which will now cost K1999.90 per litre of petrol and K1,920.00 for diesel at the pump, an increase of over 44 percent. I raise with you your alleged complicity in Malawians having to pay Kwacha 200+ more per every litre or K11,000 for every tank full when they buy fuel to fund bribes/kickbacks.

Let me explain by focusing again on the award of the fuel supply contract to supplier/s whom you had met at State House. I hasten to add the meeting was at your own request. For, following your meeting, the Special Advisor to the President, Chris Chaima Banda, the Hon Enoch Chihana, leader of Aford, and the Minister of Energy, Hon Newton Kambala were arrested and charged with allegedly trying to corruptly influence the award of a contract, to the very same supplier/ you met.

But whereas, the ethical procurement practices would require that the implicated supplier should have been charged for allegedly engaging corruptly to secure the award of the contract and have been blacklisted from participation in the bidding process, until cleared in court; this is clearly not what happened. Instead, the Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC), ZangaZanga Chikosi, proceeded to use his position as SPC and as Chairman of NOCMA to award contract/s to that very supplier/s.

Mr Chikosi’s commitment to ensure that the supplier/s whom, I reiterate, you had met was such that, though the MERA Board refused to approve the contract because of uncompetitive premiums placing would a burden on Malawians, Mr Chikosi ensured NOCMA continued to purchase fuel from the supplier/s at uncompetitive premiums, even in the absence of formal contracts. The concerns along the lines MERA’s Board expressed were also expressed to you and Mr Chikosi by none other than the line Minister.

To facilitate the award of contract/s at prices which included the alleged bribe/payback of K200 +per litre, with your support, the SPC for over two years did not appoint an Executive Committee at NOCMA, to enable Mr Chikosi to ride roughshod over NOCMA’s Board.

Indeed, if the concerns of MERA and the line minister had been heeded and Mr Chikosi had not induced the award of contract/s corruptly, Malawians would not be forced to carry the heavy burden of paying an additional K200+ per litre (US cents 00.18) to fund bribes/kickbacks.

It would be reasonable to ask the question why Mr Chikosi, engaged in this highly unprofessional and corrupt conduct when, with your support, Mr Chikosi set aside established procedures. And also, who if not the supplier benefits from the K200+ per litre (US cents 00.18) bribe/kickback. For unless there is bribe / kickback being paid surely neither you, Excellency, nor Mr Chikosi would have gone to such lengths to pay the supplier/s K200+ per litre more when there were other established and reputable competitive bidders who could have been contracted instead.

Excellency, as President the buck has to stop with you, and one would therefore have to assume that you are indeed the, if not one of the beneficiaries, of the $4 million+ a month being paid to the contracted fuel supplier for bribes/kickbacks, funded by the K200+ per litre coming out of the pockets of Malawians every time they purchase a litre of fuel.

Excellency, you will therefore appreciate that a swift investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of this matter is required to afford both you and Mr Chikosi the opportunity to clear yourselves of these serious allegations, and for the ACB to establish who if not you, is/are the beneficiary/ies of the $4 million + more which Malawians are funding by paying an additional K200+ per litre, and to prosecute whoever is implicated in this alleged criminal wrongdoing.
I also appeal to you, Excellency, specifically to provide ACB with the space to investigate and prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice. Also, that you stop your Ministers and party functionaries and beneficiaries of corruptly awarded contracts from casting aspersions on persons exposing the crime of corruption, instead of dealing with corruption itself, for that is dangerous and reminds one of the one party rule at its worst and is fast turning Malawi into a ‘kleptomaniac state’. They should therefore desist from utterances of an inflammatory, deflective or demeaning nature.
I look forward to your refuting these allegations, and ensuring that the ACB is provided with access of the bids submitted by all bidders for the supply of fuel, and indeed recompense Malawians.

I have copied this letter to the Director General of ACB, whom I formally request to investigate the subject matter and avail its findings to Malawians.

Yours ever

Ahmed Dassu

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