- PAC notes shirt costs K60 000, belt K100 000
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed fears of profiteering in the controversial K53 billion Immigration uniforms supply deal and demanded documentation after noting what it termed exorbitant prices for items.
In an interview on Tuesday, PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said his committee has cast doubt at some claims in the deal such as a single uniform shirt for an Immigration officer pegged at about K60 000 and in some cases a belt quoted at K100 000.
He said the suspicious claims in the deal can best be explained by the two firms contracted to supply the uniforms and by documentation; hence, his committees request for the same.
Said Menyani: “We have not heard from the two companies, but we are expecting them to bring at least documents to support their claim.”
He said the committee would like to physically check the samples to ascertain if they match the quoted prices.
Menyani’s sentiments come against a background of PAC’s summoning of senior officers from department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, the Attorney General and the Secretary to the Treasury to appear before the committee on February 1 2019 to explain the legitimacy of the K53.9 billion claim the two firms are demanding from the public purse.
The committee also invited the two contracted companies—Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company—that are demanding K53.9 billion for a K9 billion contract to supply uniforms and other accessories to the Immigration Department through a 2012 contract. Delivery, however, only started five years later.
Menyani said his committee would also check the tax invoices the two companies received from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to warrant them to seek a waiver and the bill of lading from the manufacturer.
He said: “We believe that the inspection of the above mentioned will help the committee decide the next course of action.”
In its pursuit to interrogate the deal, PAC cited Section 9 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act which empowers the committee to summon the government officials and the directors or secretaries of Africa Commercial Agency and Reliance Trading Company. The letters are dated January 18 2019.
Recently, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) wrote President Peter Mutharika to intervene in the matter.
When The Nation broke the story on January 11 2019, chief Immigration officer Masauko Medi indicated that he could not comment because the matter was in court and set for trial. n