Malawians are questioning the legitimacy of a claim for 24 billion Malawi Kwacha from government by controversial businessman of Indian origin Shiraz Ferreira.
A report by Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ Malawi) states that Ferreira was issued a K24 billion LPO by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) in 2012 without a contract.
A contract was only signed in 2017 yet Ferreira, through his SF International, only delivered a portion of goods in 2019. Ironically, the businessman wants to be paid with interest “on a contract for supply of military equipment ‘signed’ in 2012”.
“There was no contract between the businessman and government until 2017 and Ferreira only partly delivered the goods in 2019,” affirms PIJ Malawi in its report.
In its investigation, PIJ Malawi also found that despite the contract signed in 2017 between the MDF and SF International requiring payment being constituted “after delivery of the materials [but] not before”, government was also expected pay SF International “in trenches” and that SF would also be make delivery of goods “in trenches”.
- Firstly, the government was to pay SF USD $7 059 000.00 between 1st July 2017 and 30thSeptember 2017.
“The Buyer shall pay to the seller the sum of USD $7 059 000.00 (Seven million and fifty-nine thousand United States Dollars) between the period of 1st July 2017 and 30th September 2017 which sum shall, prior to disbursement, be fully secured by a bank guarantee acceptable to the buyer and upon receipt of which sum the seller, the seller shall, not later than 90 days after the receipt thereof, supply the equipment mentioned in schedule 1 hereto as consideration for the sum received. In the event of failure by the seller to deliver the equipment listed in schedule 1, or any part of it within the stipulated period, the buyer shall be at liberty to call in the bank guarantee or any part of it as shall represent the value of any undelivered equipment.
- The second trench would start with SF International delivering first and being paid after.
“Between January 2018 and 31st March 2018, the seller shall deliver to the buyer the equipment in the schedule II hereto following which, within a period of 45 days from completion of delivery, a payment of USD7, 537, 000.00 (Seven million and twenty thousand United States Dollars) shall be paid by the buyer to the Seller,” reads part of the contract.
- Third round would also start with delivery by SF International followed by payments.
“Between July 2018 and 30 September 2018, the seller shall deliver to the buyer the equipment in the schedule II hereto following which, within a period of 45 days from completion of delivery, a payment of USD7, 022, 000.00 (Seven million and twenty thousand United States Dollars) shall be paid by the buyer to the Seller,” reads part of the contract.
The contract stipulates that any late payment by the buyer shall attract a compound interest of 5 percent per annum, calculated monthly.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, working on behalf of the Malawi Defence Force, is challenging Ferreira’s K24 billion claims.
Ferreira is a business guru of Indian origin who was previously arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) allegedly for fraud and evading tax.
Controversially, following his arrest, one of the officials at MRA was allegedly offered by Ferreira’s lawyers K2million (nearly 8 times the average salary of a fresh graduate on a government pay roll) “to delete targeted information from three computers that were seized from Ferreira”, a tax-evasion suspect then.
Ferreira is now debarred by the Attorney General of Malawi from bidding for public tenders here in Malawi.