As Malawi’s civil servants were parading in various streets of the country crying for their payhike, some cabinet ministers were busy awarding illegal contracts worth K24billion kwacha to a company that has already swindled taxpayers K28billion.
Appolo Limited of India, Malawi Voice can reveal was on Friday, February 15, given a no objection letter by the Director of Public Procurement to supply fuel and irrigation services worth K24bn under the influence of Finance Minister Ken Lipenga who is said to have pocketed $1million in kick backs and shared it with another minister.
This is the largest contract in ten years.
The two ministers allegedly have shared the lot with the president Joyce Banda who is set to approve the contract to apply this week.
In a mother of all corruption scandals, Appolo’s contract has been given to the company by the Minister of Finance without the internal procurement of the ministry chaired by Principal Secretary Newby Kumwembe meeting over the tendency.
The contracts MOF/2012/007 and another one MOF2012/008 have shocked the entire Ministry of Finance at Capital Hill as Lipenga only ordered some members of the IPC to award the multi-billion to Appolo claiming President Banda has already approved it.However, Lipenga memo to JB does not show anything about awarding but just informing the president about the procurement process which was not finalized, according to a senior treasure official who kept shaking his head when spilling the beans, showing Malawi Voice all the documents.
“For a company that was already involved in wasting of K28bn, it is sad at this particular time of this economic hardship that it can be awarded another contract of almost similar amount through illegal procedures just because some politicians are at the helm of poor Malawians.
“There are companies such as KIRLOSKAR Brothers Ltd which bid low prices than Appolo but they don’t qualify because they don’t offer bribes to these ministers.”
When asked to comment on the deal Lipenga threatened to drag this reporter to court if the story gets published.
Appolo’s country manager Koopter and his managing director Hermant Gupta also kept on referring to each other as we went to press.
In 2008, Malawi government awarded Appolo a contract worth $30million to supply Yedef materials. In 2010 the same company was also awarded $50million totaling to $80million, which all together is totaling K28billion in local currency.