NOCMA seeking to award fuel supply contracts to expensive bidders

National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) has come under fire for preferring expensive fuel suppliers.

The company earlier this week issued a notice of intention to contracts Lake oil Malawi Limited (65,000 Metric Tons of gasoil), Dalbit International (38,539 MT) and Camel Oil (34,414).  NOCMA in its notice ditched the practice of revealing bid prices.

Whistleblower Mulotwa Mulotwa say Lake Oil’s prices were higher than those offered by IPG for the same route.

According to Mulotwa Mulotwa, NOCMA’s choice of Lake Oil will see taxpayers paying $18.1 million (over K14 billion) more than would have been paid had IPG been selected.

“There is no attempt by NOCMA to negotiate the premiums to match the competitive premiums. In addition, the Beira DDU premiums being offered by Lake Oil are higher than those proposed for IPG in the same route. While for IPG, NOCMA proposes negotiating the lowest premiums offered by suppliers that made it to the final stage, no similar attempt is made for Lake Oil,” said Mulotwa.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) also expressed similar concerns recently saying the extra costs expected to be incurred if NOCMA sticks with the suppliers is $50 million (about K40 billion).

The grouping linked the high cost of procuring fuel to the high prices of the commodity in the country.

Malawians on social media suspect that some government officials are set to benefit from the expensive contracts.

“The deal is that our brokers and stakeholder get two thirds of the top up, plus any duplicated payments.

“The new guys are singing ‘ it’s our turn to eat’, deposits were already paid out,” wrote one social media user on Mulotwa Mulotwa’s post.

“It’s just one thieving cartel after another. Let’s not think that the leadership is not aware of this. It does but the benefits out of these clandestine deals are too sweet to part way with. Very shocking,” wrote another social media user.

The HRDC has since asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to suspend the procurement process and investigate each step of the procurement process.

The grouping also wants ACB to investigate alleged corruption and possible collusion to defraud the public and to probe allegations of overpricing.