Office of the President and Cabinet handpicked a company owned by the president’s buddy to fumigate Kamuzu Palace and Capital Hill at a cost of K97 million, yet Lilongwe District Health Office would have done the same work for about K6 million.
Whistleblower, Joshua Chisa Mbele alleges that the company Pest Chem B1 is owned by Martin Mainja who is Chakwera’s buddy and whom the president appointed as Board Member of ADL.
According to the National Audit Office (NAO) investigative report on the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds, Pest Chem 1B was handpicked to fumigate 26 buildings at Capital Hill, Kamuzu Palace and City Centre in July last year.
This was done even though there was no need to contract a private company considering that Lilongwe District Health Office already has capacity to fumigate the offices.
Environmental Officer at the DHO Penjani Chunda told auditors that his offices would have done the work at a lower cost.
“He informed the audit team that a one visit disinfection which Pest Chem 1B charged 26,620,250 would have costed not more than K1.5 million.
“It is also worth noting that the materials for disinfection by Pest Chem 1B were provided by Government, a situation that did not justify the use of the private disinfector at that high cost,” reads part of the report.
It was also noted during the audit that Capital Hill was soliciting quotations from the same suppliers for fumigation exercise, Pest Chem 1B, Primon Enterprises and tlm Fumigation Services.
However, Pest Chem won every time the service was procured. In addition, Primon Enterprises denied sending any quotation to the Office of the President.
The audit report was commissioned by Chakwera earlier this year after reports of massive plunder of public funds meant for Covid-19.
It shows that K80 million was lost through irregular payment of allowances, K83 million was stolen after being withdrawn from accounts, K24 million which was unbudgeted for was wastefully and dubiously spent while K423 million was spent on procurement of items even though necessary procurement procedures were not followed.