Malawi’s oil supply deal has been hit by controversy with a whistleblower revealing that some senior government officials have not welcomed Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority – MERA’s decision to reject the awarding of oil supply contracts to two companies.
National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) awarded the oil supply deals for 2021 to IPG (Independent Petroleum Group) which is based in Kuwait and Lake Oil based in Tanzania.
Under the deal, the two companies were expected to supply the required supply of 314 830 metric tonnes (MT) of fuel.
However, MERA earlier this month refused to approve the contracts because of irregularities in the awarding of the contracts to the two companies out of 23 bidders. NOCMA accused of not following procedures in the tender process.
There are also concerns over the capacity of the two companies to supply fuel and over reports that Lake Oil is facing a debt crisis in Tanzania.
MERA advised NOCMA to restart the process including advertising the tender and vetting the companies.
However, according to a whistleblower, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi who is also NOCMA board chairperson has been pressuring MERA to approve the contracts despite the irregularities.
Meanwhile, State House has set up a meeting involving President Lazarus Chakwera, MERA chairperson Leonard Chikadya, NOCMA deputy CEO Hellen Buluma and Chikhosi to disscuss the oil deal.
The meeting comes months after Chakwera described Buluma as an operative of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and asked Zangazanga to fire her as acting NOCMA CEO, a position Buluma was holding at the time.