The Blantyre Water Board (BWB) has come under fire from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its lack of transparency in terminating contracts without consulting the bank in the K66 billion Malawi Peri-Urban Water and Sanitation Project.
According to a letter addressed to the bank dated April 17 2015, BWB chief executive officer (CEO) Henry Bakuwa had terminated a contract due to slow progress and has asked to enter into negotiations with the second-best evaluated bidder from the previous award procedure.
Bakuwa could not pick his phone despite several attempts in trying to reach him.
In their response, EIB expressed surprise at the BWB decision and have since asked for a thorough clarification before granting their requests.
Reads the EIB response in part: “You will recall that during that mission you had agreed to keep us closely informed on the progress of works. The latest communication we received from your project manager dates back to mid-March 2015 and only refers to comments we made on the minutes of the site meeting on February 27 2015.
“As we have not been informed about any negative events on site effecting the timely implementation of the works your letter stating that essentially no progress has been made in 2015 comes as a surprise. We, therefore, ask you to send us a complete set of communications between the Board and the contractor for 2015 so that we can assess the situation better. Please send also a complete list of payments made to the current contractor.”
The letter, signed by head of Public Sector Unit External Mandates Division Transaction Management and Restructuring Directorate, Michel Marciano and Harald Schölzel for Water and Waste Management Division, doubts if the rehabilitation and renewal of the works at Walker’s Ferry will be finalised by October as scheduled.
Reads the letter: “Regarding your request to enter into negotiations with the second-best evaluated bidder from the previous award procedure, I would like to remind you the procedure approved in 2013 to award the contract to [the initial company]. As you will recall we had back then allowed BWB to enter into negotiations with three bidders based on a formal proposal.”
In December, EIB and the EU Delegation threatened to pull out its funding in the Malawi Peri-Urban Water and Sanitation Project following hundreds of millions of Kwacha lost through illegal procurement.