The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has stopped a K650.7 million Ministry of Health contract for drilling 250 boreholes set to be awarded to two construction firms that formed a joint venture.
The boreholes were meant to be drilled in various health facilities nationwide as part of Malawi Government’s interventions to halt the further spread of Covid-19.
ACB principal public relations officer Egrita Ndala said in a statement yesterday that the bureau has stopped the contract from proceeding to pave the way for investigations.
She said: “Following the restriction notice, the Ministry of Health is restricted from dealing with the contract until the ACB has concluded its investigations or lifted the restriction.”
The ACB is empowered by the Corrupt Practices Act under Section 23 (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act to put a restriction on contracts whenever there are alleged irregularities.
The same section also empowers the graft-busting body to lift such restrictions when investigations have established no irregularities or alleged corrupt elements.
In an interview yesterday, Ndala said the bureau was compelled to launch the investigations following a complaint it received pertaining to the awarding of the contracts.
But according to the restriction notice we have seen, which was issued on October 3 2022, the Ministry of Health intended to award the contract to Pyramid Civil Engineering and Mathews Boreholes Joint Venture.
This, according to the notice, was despite claims that the joint venture does not have capacity to carry out the works.
In April 2022, Ministry of Health published a notice which indicated that the Malawi Government acquired funds from the Global Fund Covi-19 Grant to construct the boreholes.
The contracts were set to be awarded in six lots comprising the North Zone, Central East Zone, Central West Zone, South East Zone, South West Zone A and South West Zone B.
Pyramid Civil Engineering and Mathews Boreholes Joint Venture were awarded the contracts in four lots comprising North Zone, Central East Zone, Central West Zone and South West B Zone.
In the North Zone, the joint venture was awarded a contract worth K182.3 million while in the Central East Zone they were awarded a K194.7 million contract. In the Central West Zone, the joint venture was awarded a contract worth K140.9 million while in the South West B Zone they got K132.6 million