The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has lifted a ban restricting the Ministry of Health (MoH) from going ahead with procurement process for Phalombe District Hospital equipment.
On February 16 2017, ACB issued a restriction notice to MoH on the contract to supply hospital equipment for the new Phalombe District Hospital in relation to the manner in which the tender advertisement was made.
The advertisement had made specific references to a brand of medical equipment rather than generic specification which would have encouraged participation from wider base of suppliers, creating a competitive bidding process for the benefit of the people of Malawi in getting value for money.
In a statement signed by senior public relations officer, Egrita Ndala, ACB says it has come up with the decision to lift the ban after it discovered that the financiers of the project have their own procurement procedures which the Ministry is following for reasons related to control and management of maintenance and training costs, the Ministry had to specify preferred brands for some of the equipment in line with existing equipment inventory brands.
Following the ban, the ACB together with the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) engaged MoH to find out why they did not follow Malawi Government procurement procedures in the said project.
According to the statement, ACB and CFTC have therefore, on an exceptional basis, allowed the process to continue following the exceptional legitimate reasons given in the project.
“The ACB has therefore, lifted the restriction order it had issued. It must however be clear that this does not suggest that the ACB has cleared the contract of any potential corruption allegations and it reserves its right to institute a full investigation should information suggesting otherwise subsequently come to its attention,” reads the statement in part.
The hospital is being constructed with resources financed under Loan No 594/3 from Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Saudi Fund.