CDEDI cautions transport ministry against awarding railway contract to Chinese firm


Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has written Minister of Transport Jacob Hara cautioning him against his ministry’s decision to award Marka-Bangula railway project to China Railway 20 (CR20).

In a letter made available to this publication and copied to Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General, Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets as well as Ministry of Finance, CDEDI is asking Transport Minister Hara to consider withdrawing the authorization letter to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) and an intention to award the contract China Railway 20 (CR20).

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said the withdrawal would allow for adequate soul searching before settling for a company to do the rehabilitation of the much-awaited railway line.

He has also asked Minister Hara to travel to Nsanje and appreciate the kind of works done by CR20 which he believes would disqualify the company from securing new contracts.

“CDEDI would like to bring to your attention Section 53 Subsection 2(f) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act of 2017, which among many others cites past performance as one of the criteria in deciding toward a contract to a contractor.

“It is an open secret that Malawians are dissatisfied with the quality of works CR20 is implementing on the Nsanje-Marka road project,” reads the letter signed by Namiwa.

He further argued that apart from the communities in Nsanje district, professional bodies have also raised a red flag on the quality of the Nsanje-Marka project.

“In a normal situation, therefore, none expected such a contractor to be rewarded, but rather be reprimanded, and if it were in other countries that are serious with issues of standards and professionalism, this company would have been sent packing! Hence this letter is copied to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Ministry of Finance, and the PPDA, for their information, deep reflection, and action,” Namiwa said.

Spokesperson in the ministry Andrew Nthiko has confirmed receipt of the letter and promised to communicate the next course of action based on feedback from the minister.

Government seeks to rehabilitate the 44 Kilometer railway in order to revive the Sena corridor that will connect Malawi to Mozambique. CR20 is on the verge of being awarded a K68 billon contract for the works.

Chinese construction firm awarded K68 billion Marka-Bangula Railway contract