Mota Engil is at the centre of another corruption controversy as a rights group has asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the company and Roads Authority (RA) over the cost of the Area 18 Interchange.
The Interchange was constructed as part of the Area 49 to Parliament Roundabout road project. Initially, K6.7 billion was set aside for the project but the cost rose to K14.4 billion after the interchange project was added.
Rights group Centre for Mindset Change (CMC) has since written ACB to investigate the project, saying taxpayers’ money may have been stolen in the process of altering the original plan.
“Our suspicion is cemented in the fact that an audit report by Scott Wilson revealed that variations to the contract were instituted without proper documentation and approvals.
“And the supervising consultant was faulted for certifying payments prior to approvals of variation orders,” says the letter signed by CMC Executive Director Phillip Kamangira.
He then urged the bureau to conduct investigations into the construction project.
However, RA Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Matapa has said the interchange came about after consulting engineers conducted a number of surveys on areas of traffic count; traffic capacity analysis; geotechnical surveys and topographic surveys.
The interchange cost around K7.3 billion which led to the rise in project cost.
Matapa also defended the RA saying it obtained approval from authorities in order to include the interchange in the road construction project.
Mota Engil spokesperson Thomas Chafunya has told the local media that the company welcomes the probe. Chafunya, however, expressed concern that CMC did not request accurate information from authorities before making allegations about corruption.
In August, CMC also raised questions over a K48 billion contract awarded to Mota Engil for the railway section between Marka and Bangula in Nsanje
After CMC’s concerns, the ACB last week stopped Ministry of Transport and Public Works from awarding a contract for the railway section between Marka and Bangula in Nsanje.
The bureau said it had received a complaint alleging irregularities and suspected corruption surrounding the procurement process.