CDEDI wants LWB, RA and China Civil Engineering to be investigated over K5.2 billion contract

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The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says it has asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate Lilongwe Water Board (LWB), Roads Authority (RA) and China Civil Engineering over a 5.2 Billion Kwacha contract which LWB awarded to the engineering firm.

CDEDI argues that some works under the K5.2 billion contract are already expected to be carried out under a K19 billion contract which Roads Authority also awarded to the same engineering firm.

CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, told journalists on Wednesday that the organisation has also asked ACB Director General Martha Chizuma as well as Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara to consider stopping the contract awarding process by LWB, pending further scrutiny of this process.

According to Namiwa, RA in July, 2021 awarded a contract worth MWK19 billion for a Six Lane Capacity Improvements of Kenyatta Road and Sharrar Street project to China Civil Engineering.

“Just a few months later, the LWB awarded yet another contract, to the same company, to the tune of MWK5.2 billion, purportedly for the relocation of water pipes. According to the LWB bid evaluation report, China Civil Engineering came fourth, with MWK5.2 billion, and surprisingly, the company was picked by the LWB to do the job, without any justification for the choice of the company that came fourth among the bidders, or why they rejected the other three lower bidders,” said Namiwa.

He added that the lower bidders were Victory Vision Construction with MWK3.4 billion; Projex Group Ltd with MWK3.6 billion and Malbro International Ltd with MWK4.8 billion.

“However, we believe the RA conveniently paid a blind eye to the fact that the works that the LWB intends to award to China Civil Engineering form part of the six lane expansion works, under Contract No. RA/DEV/202021, which was already signed, and works have commenced on the site, such as the relocation of water pipes, sewer, communication cables and electricity poles, whose Bill of Quantities was pegged at MWK507 million,” he said.

He claimed that the issue is a serious case of double dipping, where Malawians are being robbed of billions in broad daylight.

“We are in possession of the contract documents awarded to China Civil Engineering by the RA, where this evidence has been sourced from,” he said.

He expressed concern that the country’s procurement procedures especially in public infrastructure development are mostly being flouted and Malawians are paying huge bills in serving the projects which are mostly being damaged before launch due to poor quality.

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