Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has been implicated in a new scam where some individuals were drawing fuel from the parastatal without rendering any service, a development which has caught the attention of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi, in a written response, confirmed the list and said as a public entity they are ready for an investigation which will help to get to the bottom of the issue.
He said the investigation will also work to the advantage of employees who may have been deprived of resources.
Said Chitosi: “As you are aware, Escom is a government-owned company and we all know that the new political administration has prioritised justice and the rule of law. Escom is ready to cooperate with investigators. The investigation will also be in the interest of Escom employees who may have been deprived of their privileges as scarce resources may have ended up in wrong hands.”
ACB has since said it has taken note of the concern on Escom and that it will review the complaint to determine the way forward.
ACB senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala said: “We are keenly following all issues that have been raised. As a bureau, we will review every complaint and make a decision.
“Based on the review such complaints may be investigated. The bottom line is that we will attend to all these complaints.”
The long list of individuals and institutions that have been drawing fuel from Escom include senior officials from Mulhako wa Alhomwe, business people and some politicians from the immediate past governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
One of the recurrent names on the list is Mulhako was Alhomwe chairperson Muchana Mpuluka who, when asked how he frequently benefitted from Escom fuel, said: “I do not know anything.”
The list also has institutions such as Malawi defense Force and Malawi Police Service as well as individuals from these institutions that were also drawing Escom fuel, but a highly-placed source within Escom who spoke on condition of anonymity, had an explanation for this.
Said the source: “The truth of the matter is that we work with these security institutions, including the National Intelligence Service and we do provide them with fuel.
“Some of the fuel is also wasted on meetings. For example, a minister comes to visit Escom and they come with an entourage of 40 people who will demand both fuel and allowances. But yes, others are simply instructed to be getting fuel from the organisation and you do not seem to have a choice to say no; hence, this abuse. This must be corrected.”
Another senior employee working in Lilongwe also lamented that while the outsiders easily got access to fuel, Escom staff sometimes struggled to get an allocation for critical operations.
The free-for-all allocation of fuel, dating back to 2018, follows another scandal over a year ago, where the power supply company lost to theft 4.2 million litres of diesel for generators as well as the misprocurement of goods worth K5 billion. n