- Paramount Group supplies 4 old choppers after K12bn deal renegotiation
Malawi and South Africa-based military equipment supplier, Paramount Group, have squared a botched up K12 billion arms deal in a transaction that has seen the supplier providing four used helicopters to the Malawi Defence Force (MDF).
In an e-mail response to The Nation enquiry, MDF spokesperson Captain Paul Chiphwanya confirmed that Malawi took delivery of the four helicopters and some Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) from Paramount Group after the deal with the company was negotiated. He could, however, not state whether they were brand new or second-hand.
In 2013, Malawi bartered off a Dassault Falcon military equipment that Paramount Group was to supply to MDF, but on July 20 2016, Pakistan Defence website reported that the country got four second-hand Gazelle helicopters from the group.900EX presidential jet for
Reads the article on the Pakistani military website www.defence.pk: “Meanwhile, it has emerged that Malawi has acquired four ex-British Army Gazelle helicopters, which appear to have been delivered by Paramount Group. Two were first seen in Malawi Defence Force Air Wing colours last year .”
Chiphwanya, answering questions The Nation initially sent to Ministry of Defence, said the contract with Paramount Group for the provision of military equipment was renegotiated by Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and other responsible authorities.
He said: “When the contract was being terminated, procurement, delivery and other related costs for the Gazelle helicopters and some Armoured Personnel Carriers [APCs] had already been finalised and Paramount Group had the obligation to deliver them and provide pilot and technician conversion training for the helicopters and technician training for the APCs.”
Chiphwanya said Malawi currently has no contract with Paramount Group for the supply of military equipment to the country, and to MDF in particular.
A quick Internet check on Westland Limited website, a company that sells second-hand helicopters, reveals that a SA-341 Gazelle ex-military/warbird helicopters from United Kingdom fetches about K280 million (£285 000) while on Hoversales website, a South Africa-based used helicopter dealer, put Gazelle-helicopter at K320 million ($425 000) each.
In 2014, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe renegotiated the price to around K12.8 billion ($ 17 million) the initial K108.8 billion ($145 million) contract agreement that former president Joyce Banda signed in 2013 for Paramount Group to supply assorted defence equipment.
However, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Nations Msowoya said government could not out rightly terminate the contract because Paramount had already started “manufacturing” the equipment.
Msowoya, in an e-mail response, said: “The government in 2014 did not cancel the supply agreement as such, but rather renegotiated the agreement on account of fiscal sustainability of the nature of the contract. Therefore, the agreement was revised to this new figure based on the fact that by that time Paramount Group had already started manufacturing some of the equipment, which meant that if government was going to terminate, government was going to be in breach of contract.
“So, if there are any deliveries of equipment by Paramount Group now these are being done under this renegotiated contract not a new a contract.”
In November 2013,BB the MDF commissioned seven new Guardian BR850 interceptor boats from Nautic Africa, a company Paramount has a majority stake. In 2013, Malawi received six Marauder APCs, according to the Stockholm International Peace, Mail & Guardian newspaper of South Africa reported.