The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has penned the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Martha Chizuma, challenging the Bureau to take steps towards bringing to bare circumstances surrounding the controversial fuel supply saga at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA).
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa warns that since this development created room for speculations, some Malawians will be forced to conclude that ACB has now joined the cartel to skin the taxpayers alive, as they will dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the difference.
ACB gave NOCMA a go ahead to award the fuel supply contract to a company that offered the liquid at US$50 million more when the approved supplier had some capacity challenges to sustain supply in an event of forex dry spells in the country.
At one, in his response to the report by the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Mining and Natural Resources, the former Minister of Energy, Hon. Newton Kambala, raised this question in parliament.
Namiwa says Malawians thought the results of the ACB investigations would have tasked NOCMA to address the hiccups before proceeding with the awarding of the contracts.
“The question was, and still remains: Who is going to pay for the extra US$50 million? We, at CDEDI, believe Malawians are still in the dark on the matter. Additionally, it is an open secret that awarding the fuel supply contract to a company that does not have the financial capacity to sustain the supply during the forex lean period in Malawi, is a recipe for disaster. This also raises a question as to why the ACB ignored such an aspect in its investigations,” says the firebrand human rights activist.
Namiwa reminds Chizuma that as a constitutional organ, with one of the finest legal minds at the helm, ACB should have, at least, raised a red flag that NOCMA is currently operating illegally since it does not have a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Director of Finance, and a Procurement Officer.
“It is further alleged that the position of Deputy CEO does not exist at NOCMA, and yet it is currently occupied. Now, given such revelations, is it wrong to say that NOCMA is currently operating illegally? How does the ACB allow an illegal entity to proceed to broker deals on behalf of Malawians?” he asks.
“We would also like to put it to your attention madam, that one of the members of the Board of Directors for NOCMA, resigned at the height of the recent arrests by the ACB, of some officials that are suspected to have attempted to influence the NOCMA fuel supply contracts. Has the Bureau taken interest in investigating the reasons for the board member’s resignation, which have a direct linkage to the fuel supply mess?”
CDEDI has challenged Chizuma to look into the issues that have been raised in the letter in order to avoid a looming crisis due to an increase in the pump prices and a fuel crisis, which will be caused by erratic fuel supplies.
Namiwa warns that should this happen, it will impact negatively on the innocent, marginalised and the vulnerable Malawians, who are mostly taxpayers and voters.
“CDEDI does not think that you, madam ACB Director, would want to be associated with this mess. We are looking forward, therefore, to seeing these issues being addressed by your office, promptly,” concludes the letter.
Chizuma could not immediately be reached for her comment.