K60,000 for Immigration shirt, K100,000 for belt: Suppliers’ prices shocks PAC

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Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has demanded documentation from suppliers who are demanding K53 billion from government over the Immigration uniforms deal saying the companies are quoting exorbitant prices for items.

PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said the committee wants an explanation from the firms after noting that the suppliers are quoting K60,000 for a shirt and in some cases a K100,000 for a belt.

The two companies – African Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company owned by Abdul Karim Batawarara – were awarded a K9 billion contract to supply uniforms to the Immigration Department in 2012 but failed to honour the deal.

Five years later, the suppliers asked to deliver the goods but the department rejected the goods. The two firms then sued government over the issue and are now demanding K53 billion.

Menyani said the committee would like to physically check the samples to ascertain if they match the quoted prices.

He added that they would also check the tax invoices the two companies received from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to warrant them to seek a waiver and the bill of lading from the manufacturer.

“We have not heard from the two companies, but we are expecting them to bring at least documents to support their claim,” Menyani said.

“We believe that the inspection of the above mentioned will help the committee decide the next course of action.”

Senior officers from department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, the Attorney General and the Secretary to the Treasury are also expected to appear before the committee on February 1, 2019 to explain the legitimacy of the K53 billion claim.

Recently, human rights activists under HRDC asked authorities to investigate the matter and prosecute suspects.

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