Against a confidential report detailing Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi’s (Escom) procurement and financial management weaknesses, the power utility firm has disclosed plans to retender a contract to demolish its burnt head office in Blantyre.
The retendering comes two years after Escom cancelled a K675 million tender bid for a contract to demolish the burnt building after it was heavily criticised following a public uproar that the cost could have been lower.
Escom spokesperson Innocent Chitosi said the parastatal will re-tender the contract for construction. “This means that we shall demolish the old building and construct a modern house to serve our needs.”
A confidential report, titled Report on Building and Unleashing Escom’s Potential in the New Environment, dated February 7 2019, the task team chaired by former Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Stuart Ligomeka, detailed a failure of procurement, stores, distribution, and financial management functions as well as indiscipline and a poor organisation culture.
The report says Escom has significant weaknesses in governance and operations, leading to high levels of fraud and theft of public resources.
Malawi Institute of Engineers (MIE) former president Wilson Chirwa in an interview advised Escom officials to list down equipment and qualification personnel that the demolition contractor should possess so that when tenders are submitted, Escom should compare those with similar capability.
Former Escom board chairperson Thom Mpinganjira in an earlier interview justified the cost of demolition as the contractor was expected to bring equipment from South Africa. He also had indicated that there was no local expertise to demolish the building.
Chirwa concurred with Mpinganjira saying at the moment local contractors are only capable of demolishing one storey buildings.
Weighing in on the issue Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a grouping that opposed the earlier demolition, welcomed the re-tendering process.
HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence in an interview this week pointed out that as long as all procurement procedures are followed in the hiring of the contractor, they will support the tearing down of the building.
He said: “As HRDC we are not against the demolition of the building as long as there is value for money because this is tax payers’ money. Escom officials need to look at cost implications and make savings out of that.”
Escom received K1.3 billion from Nico Financial Services for the burnt house which Chitosi said was intact.