A rights group has demanded the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct a further probe into the fuel deals at National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), saying the initial probe ignored allegations that NOCMA’s preferred suppliers will see Malawians losing US$50 million (about K40 billion).
The rights group, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development (CDEDI), has raised its concerns in a letter addressed to ACB director general Martha Chizuma.
In June, following similar complaints about irregularities in the fuel supply contracts, ACB restricted NOCMA from awarding the contracts to successful bidders.
NOCMA had announced intention to award contracts to companies including Lake oil Malawi Limited (65,000 Metric Tons of gasoil), Dalbit International (38,539 MT) and Camel Oil (34,414).
In August after its investigations, the ACB told NOCMA to proceed with procurement processes towards award of the contracts.
But CDEDI has argued that the bureau ignored some important aspects in its investigations.
According to the CDEDI letter signed by executive director Sylvester Namiwa, NOCMA is awarding a contract to an expensive supplier that has no financial capacity to sustain fuel supply during the lean forex period.
Namiwa said these issues have created room for speculations.
“Some Malawians have been forced to think that the ACB has now joined the cartel to skin the taxpayer alive, as they will dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the difference,” said Namiwa.
He also expressed concern that ACB is allowing NOCMA to continue making decisions on fuel supply when the company currently does not have a chief executive officer, director of finance and procurement officer.
“Is it wrong to say that NOCMA is currently operating illegally? How does ACB allow an illegal entity to proceed to broker deals for Malawians?” asked Namiwa.
He then urged ACB to look into the issues to avoid a hike in fuel prices and a fuel crisis caused by erratic fuel supply.