A construction expert has questioned Mota Engil’s dominance in the sector in Malawi following revelations that the company is currently building roads worth K142 billion.
According to Amabhungane, the Portuguese based company’s nearest competitor is Zhajoung of China which is engaged in government road projects worth just K14.9 million.
An executive in the construction industry has claimed that politics play a huge role in the awarding of contracts in Malawi hence other companies cannot protest Mota Engil’s dominance.
“We cannot protest the conduct of government when it comes to awarding these projects to Mota Engil because the construction industry in Malawi is guided by politics,” the executive told Amabhugane.
There are also claims that the company’s ties with late president Bingu wa Mutharika gives it an advantage under the current administration.
However, State House has refuted claims that President Peter Mutharika influences the awarding of contracts to Mota Engil.
Mutharika’s press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said the Roads Authority is the only institution responsible for awarding government road tenders.
“The Presidency, let alone President Mutharika as an individual has absolutely nothing to do with such processes,” Kalilani said.
“It is a desperate attempt by haters to drag the name of the current President in the mud for malicious reasons.
“Mota Engil is not winning tenders because it constructed the house of the President’s late brother some years ago,” said Kalilani.
In Malawi, Mota Engil is constructing the 82km Thyolo-Makwasa-Thekerani-Makhanga road which will cost K27.3 million.
Construction of the road, which started in 2016 and will be completed next year, is being funded by the Malawi government, the Kuwait Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Saudi Fund and OPEC.
Mota is also building the 95km Lilongwe Old Airport-Kasiya Spur road, costing over K39.6 billion (R670-million), with Malawi government funding.
Other roads being constructed by Mota Engil are the 75km Liwonde-Mangochi road worth K29.9 billion which was funded by the African Development Bank, the government-funded 75km Njakwa-Livingstonia Project which will cost K39-billion and the 4.4km highway from Parliament to the Bingu National Stadium.
The highway project is worth K6.6-billion and is being funded by the Malawi government.
The projects are five of the ten projects which are being implemented by the Roads Authority.
When asked to comment on the issue, Mota Engil public relations officer Thomas Chafunya said they only bid for the projects and are awarded contracts.
But the RA’s public relations manager, Portia Kajanga downplayed claims that there is bias in the awarding of contracts saying the authority follows transparent procurement systems which is a requirement in all donor-funded projects.