13 August 2016 Last updated at: 1:54 AM
MERA corruption saga: court throws out ACB’s application
The Lilongwe Magistrate court has dismissed an application from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to stop Terrastone Construction Limited from building headquarters for Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) over corruption reports.
Earlier this year, ACB filed an application to stop Terrastone Limited from building new offices for MERA after the graft-busting body received reports that MERA boss Raphael Kamoto gave the construction firm the contract without following procurement procedures.
Three months down the line, ACB applied to renew the restriction arguing that it wanted to interview MERA officials as well as officers from the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) on the corruption syndicate.
However, MERA and Terrastone lawyers told the court not to renew the restriction notice saying in its application the bureau had not given enough reasons for continued ban and had failed to explain why it did not finish investigations in the initial three months.
In his ruling on the matter, Principal Resident Magistrate Patrick Chilunga Chirwa disclosed that MERA should go ahead with the construction of the headquarters arguing that ACB had failed to give the court sufficient reasons on which to renew the stay order.
Chirwa expressed concern over lack of ability on the part of the bureau to conclude the investigations during the requested time.
“They have not shown the court why they could do that within initial 3 months of notice. To just assert that they need more time without being accountable for the statutory time limit already provided is not enough,” said Chirwa in his ruling.
Last week Kamoto accused ACB boss Lucas Kondowe of harassing him to award the tender for construction of the headquarters to Segocoa Anhui Construction saying Kondowe wanted to abuse his office.
But other reports showed that it was Kamoto who flouted procedures by singlehandedly awarding Terrastone the contract when S R Nicholas was the firm that won the bid hence ACB’s involvement in the issue.