The Roads Authority (RA) has attacked local contractors, saying they waste their money and resources to bribe its officers to secure contracts.
The attack comes in the wake of reports of worsening corruption in the construction sector.
Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) recently issued a report which showed that corruption in public construction contracts add 10 percent to the contract price.
Speaking to contractors at a pre-bid meeting in Mzuzu on Tuesday, RA chief executive officer (CEO) Trevor Hiwa warned contractors against indulging in corrupt practices.
He asked contractors not to entertain any monetary requests from RA officials and to stop approaching and offering money to them.
“It takes two to tango; for the institution to be corrupt, there must be some corruptors somewhere. In most cases, I hear about it from well-wishers
“However, the problem is that mostly we just speak without giving out concrete evidence,” said Hiwa.
He said RA is currently investigating some of its officers on the same, adding that last month he held meetings with two groups of staff members, among them, evaluators and warned them against the vice.
“Some investigations have been bearing fruits while others not. Do not suffer in silence, give me the evidence of RA officers’ involvement in corrupt practices,” he said.
Hiwa also blamed some contractors whom he said interfere with the procurement process by either camping close to where RA officers are evaluating bids or constantly phoning the evaluators for updates.
“Sometimes, before I have the results from the team of evaluators, some of these contractors already have them. In most cases, the officials that you bribe have inside information that you have won and they just blind you.
“If you want to spend money, spend it on professionals and follow all bidding instructions,” he said, urging them to give realistic prices when bidding.
Hiwa said some contractors quote low prices, which makes RA officials to question the shops the contractors go to.
“We know your work will be substandard or we will have trouble when you are given the work,” he said.
Hiwa gave an example of a company which priced a kilometre stretch at $250 000 (K173 million) while RA knows that it takes about $650 000 (K450 million) for the stretch to be constructed according to standards.
Malawian Building Contractors and Allied Trade Association (Mabcata) president Weekly Mhango applauded RA for the initiative, saying lately things were getting out of control.
“Our members have been complaining that contracts were awarded to the same contractors which raised suspicions of corruption; hence, it is good that the CEO has cleared all the mist,” he said.
Mhango, however, said the association will have a meeting with RA to establish the source of the suspicions and how corruption in the industry can be controlled.
While supporting RA for the initiative, CoST Malawi coordinator Lyford Gideon said it is unfortunate that some officials and contractors are encouraging corruption in the sector.
The construction sector is an extremely fertile ground for corrupt activities in Malawi, according to CoST. n