Contractors have asked the Roads Authority (RA) to root out corruption ahead of the 2016 roads and bridges tendering period.
The contractors were speaking during a regional meeting in Lilongwe on Wednesday that RA organised to hear their concerns and brief them on dangers of corruption.
The Lilongwe meeting followed a similar one held in Mzuzu on Tuesday.
At the meeting in Lilongwe, various contractors asked RA to rid itself of corrupt officials.
“We have information from five credible contractors that they were asked by officials from Roads Authority to give them a certain amount of money to get those tenders. Soon, we will be presenting this evidence to the [RA chief executive officer] for action,” said former president of the Malawi Indigenous Contractors Voice of Transparency, Joe Ching’ani, who is also owner of Chico Construction Limited.
“If wrong contractors do the job, the possibility of work not being implemented in earnest are high, but that would disfranchise capable and well deserving contractors. We are asking you to get rid of corrupt officers,” said Ching’ani.
Roads Authority chief executive officer Trevor Hiwa challenged the contractors to present evidence and that their names will be protected.
“I know there might be corruption at Roads Authority and if you give me evidence we are ready to act against those found to be guilty,” said Hiwa.
He, however, said it is not easy to influence RA to award a tender as there are many checks and balances in the contract award process.
“There are four stages before a tender can be awarded. There are evaluators who will evaluate bids. Then there is an internal procurement committee, which has nine people after that the ODPP [Office of the Director of Public Procurement] has also to look at the final bids after which we involve the Anti-Corruption Bureau to do their work,” said Hiwa.
He, however, admitted that some evaluators might collect money from contractors lying to them that they will be awarded a contract.
“Do not be fooled. Evaluators have no mandate to award a contract [and cannot] influence the bidding process,” said Hiwa.
RA will on Friday date contractors in Blantyre. n