Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni has ordered the Malawi Police Service to open criminal investigations into the suspected theft of $48 000 (about K49 million) meant for a lift at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA).
The deal in question happened about seven years ago and involved a procurement contract between the Malawi Government and a Kenyan company which it later transpired it closed shop before delivering the product.
In a let ter to the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Kayuni has called for swift investigations, to address the wrongs.
Reads the letter in part: “It is so apparent that there was a contract between Civil Aviation Department and a company to supply equipment, money was paid in full to the tune of $48 000 and nothing followed.
“Therein there are issues that are of serious concern to the public, namely pilferage of the much-needed resources, fraud other than false pretences, utter theft, abuse of office and negligence.”
Kayuni stressed that it was worrisome that money was paid in full without services being rendered.
He said: “Madam IG, it has to be highlighted that it is a cause of worry for a payment to be made in full and no service rendered. These are public resources and there is a duty of care on the part of the fiduciaries.
“We have looked at the law, considered the acts as articulated and the directorate is of the opinion that criminal investigations be insttituted against the allegations therein.”
National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said they were yet to get the letter, but said they will comply once they get the communication from the DPP.
“Once the letter comes, we will commence the criminal investigations,” he said.
Chitipa South legislator Werani Chilenga raised the issue in Parliament during the Democratic Progressive Party administration when he said he had it on good authority from officials from the Ministry of Transport and Public Works that from 2014, the government through the Department of Civil Aviation, paid the sum of $48 000 to the Kenyan company (name unknown) without any works being carried out.
Former minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu then told Parliament that the contract was signed in 2011 for the supply and installation of a lift in the control tower after the old one malfunctioned. In the past 10 years, government has had two similar experiences. In 2012 and 2016, it lost K550 million in two contracts with Kenyan firms.