CSO wants cops in food deal disciplined

 

Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) has asked the Police Service Commission (PSC) to discipline senior police officers involved in the K2.7 billion Malawi Police Service (MPS) food rations scandal.

In a demand letter to PSC chairperson, High Court judge Charles Ching’anya Mkandawire, dated September 7 2018, YAS argues that since the leakage of an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigation report that exposed the deal, it has not heard of any disciplinary action against the mentioned officers.

Kajoloweka: There has been no action

Signed by YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka, the letter reads: “We would like to address you to the provisions of Section 155 of the Constitution and in particular Sub-section 3 read together with Sections 13 and 14 of the Police Act. These provisions mandate the Commission to take disciplinary action against all police officers other than the Inspector General.

“We wish to add that we are aware that legally such administrative process does not have to wait for the criminal proceedings that we believe ACB is going to take.”

A leaked ACB investigation report dated November 2017 indicated that the contract price to Pioneer Investments Limited of Zameer Karim was inflated within days of signing, by K466 million from K2.327 billion to the K2.793 billion, purportedly due to exchange rate losses that the ACB report says were unjustifiable.

The increase followed a letter Karim wrote to MPS director of finance Innocent Bottoman on August 10 2015 to request a 20 percent contract hike, citing depreciation of the kwacha as basis.

YAS is also involved in a legal battle with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Karim over the deal.

Mkandawire and another member of the Commission, Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The ACB report accuses Bottoman of violating Public Procurement Regulation 132 and 155 as read together with the Public Procurement Act which, among others, states that “unless otherwise provided in the procurement contract, the price of a procurement contract is considered to be a fixed price when the price may not be modified in response to changes in economic or commercial conditions”.

In an earlier interview with our sister newspaper Weekend Nation, Bottoman described the issue as ‘witch-hunting’.

He said:  “My signature was forged and I do not know who did it and for what purpose. What I know is that the government told the company to reimburse part of the money. But, like I said, some people within the system have an agenda against me. But I cannot explain further than that.”

The report also showed that the businessperson paid DPP K145 million through the party’s account at Standard Bank whose sole signatory is President Peter Mutharika.

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