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LWB exonerates itself after CDEDI invoked ATI Actauction over the sale of Hino 500


…demands PPDA to suspend all public auctions on disposal of public assets

By IOMMIE CHIWALO


The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has challenged the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to immediately suspend all public auctions involving disposal of public assets, pending due diligence of all auctioneers amid strong fears of nauseating corruption and fraud in the auctioneering sector.

This follows the recent public auction at the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) administered by KADO auctioneers and general which raise eyebrows as there are concerns over flouted procedures.

In a press statement made available to this publication, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has since urged well-meaning Malawians to join in earnest the fight against corruption by blowing the whistle, and calling out those destroying the country through perpetrating fraud and corruption, especially dealing directly in public assets disposal.

Namiwa has also proposed the establishment of a special body to enforce standards and ethics in the countrys auctioneering sector to curb corruption and fraud.

The calls by Namiwa are necessitated by revelations that the situation in the auction sector has been worsened by the fact that the nation and, in particular the PPDA, focuses more on procurement, neglecting the equally important aspect of disposal of the assets, thereby giving some auctioneers chance to do as they please with public property earmarked for disposal.

The CDEDI Boss has therefore ernestly urged government ministries, departments and agencies to immediately stop dealing with KADO Auctioneers until it clears its name on this matter.

“In view of the above, CDEDI feels, in the interest of the public good, the PPDA should immediately stop KADO Auctioneers from administering any public auction until this particular matter is resolved,” he said.

Namiwa says though declared obsolete, most public assets have economic value that usually end up benefiting a privileged few instead of the nation, notably the poor majority whose lives could be saved with proceeds realised from public auctions if they did not end up fattening pockets of auctioneers and those connected to them as often happens.

“It is in view of this that CDEDI has taken keen interest in recent developments surrounding the disposal of an LWB Hino 500 truck, registration 5 SC 53 after receiving multiple complaints stemming from a public auction held at the LWB head office on April 27, 2024, where a number of items, including the Hino truck cited above were sold purportedly in the spirit of the PPDA Act,” said Namiwa.

And in reaction to the complaints, CDEDI has invoked the Access to Information Act (ATI) and wrote LWB Chief Executive Officer Silli Mbewe, demanding disclosures on how KADO Auctioneers were appointed to conduct the public auction, documents that facilitated the removal of the truck [5 SC 53] from LWB premises to the winning bidder.

“We also requested LWB to make public the Terms of Reference under which KADO Auctioneers was engaged and that they make public the LWB General Receipt (GR) as proof of payment and justification of K10 million said to have been the winning bid offer for the truck [5 SC 53], to which they promptly responded.

While commending LWB CEO for a prompt response, that denote commitment to transparency and accountability on the part of the CEO, Namiwa, called upon public servants to emulate the Silli Mbwewe.

According to the concerned bidders there was procedural flows that raised eyebrows over the matter insist that KADO Auctioneers violated some public auction laid down procedures.

For instance, there is a general outcry that the falling of the hammer on the Hino 500 truck (5 SC 53) happened in an irregular manner.

“They, in fact, claim that there were bids as high as K15 million but, surprisingly, the vehicle was given away to a K10 million bidder.

” It is further alleged that after noting the above anomaly, KADO Auctioneers arranged to re-auction the vehicle on May 11, 2024 to allow selected nine bidders make fresh bids yet it already issued both the notification to pay and a bid certificate in favour of Mr. Fabiano Mneyi on April 30, 2024,” narrates Namiwa.

There are also reports that on the proposed date for re-auctioning the vehicle, a Mr. Fabiano Mneyi, stormed LWB premises in the company of police officers with a warrant of arrest for a Mr. Samuel Kazembe.

In a dramatic turn of events, Mr. Mneyi, through a letter dated May 15, 2024, withdrew his case against Mr. Kazembe for understandably issuing a gate-pass allowing the removal of the truck, 5 SC 53 from LWB premises.

“If the story above is anything to go by, we at CDEDI fear that the above matter, which has all markings of suspected corruption and fraud, is only a tip of the iceberg; otherwise, there is a lot happening behind the scenes in the pretex of disposal of public assets through auction,” he said.

But in its response letter, LWB has insisted that the auction followed all the procedures.

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