The Roads Authority (RA) has suspended its procurement specialist pending investigations following complaints of unfair awarding of contracts, Nation on Sunday understands.
After several contractors lodged complaints on alleged malpractices in the awarding of contracts, RA conducted an internal investigation which has led to the suspension of the authority’s procurement specialist and the head of Internal Procurement Committee (IPC) Donald Kamoto.
According to a letter dated May 25 2016, RA chief executive officer Trevor Hiwa has since informed Kamoto of the suspension pending investigation.
In the letter, Hiwa describes the allegations against Kamoto as “serious in nature and, therefore, prejudicial to the interest of the authority to allow you to continue in your duties pending inquiry.”
Another letter dated June 7 2016, informed Kamoto that the suspension had been extended for a further two months.
“I write to inform you that your suspension from the duties as procurement specialist due to corruption allegations has been extended for a further two months to allow for further internal investigations and selection of a disciplinary committee,” reads part of the letter.
Hiwa confirmed in an in interview both the investigation and Kamoto’s subsequent suspension, saying management had to take action after the allegations and internal investigations.
Several contractors have testified to investigators in sworn-in affidavits on how officials allegedly abandoned procedures in awarding of contracts.
Audit report findings included that contract award letters were allegedly given in person while phone calls were made to contractors, promising them that they would be awarded contracts, something that did not happen.
“Many contractors were phoned to collect letters personally at awkward times like weekends and sometimes at hotels and some were asked to offer meals.”
The audit reports cite
one contractor alleging that he was promised a contract of K114 million which was never awarded.
“Audit has, therefore, verified that the allegations as outlined above are true and a disciplinary action needs to be instituted to deal with this issue that has seriously eroded the good image of the organisation. Further cause of action: He should be suspended for 14 days and then a disciplinary committee of FAAC members should be instituted to decide on his fate,” wrote internal audit manager Diffrey Matemba.
One of the handwritten testimonies to the investigations, on behalf of Malawi Building and Civil-Engineering Allied Traders Association (Mabcta), said many contactors had lodged complaints on the conduct of the procurement speacilist.
“Contractors cried but RA kept silent. On recent offers I was invited to collect the offer letters personally that’s when negotiations had to take place. Many contractors involved in this had to collect offer letters personally.
“…As Mabcta we believe all contractors with big jobs have been approached, soon after evaluations, he calls the expected winners that the final decision is in his hands. He points out few weaknesses that are there then he claims he can assist, if one is ready to assist as well,” alleges the Mabcta official’s testimony.
Another contractor alleged that he was asked to pay after being granted a grading contract and patching works.
“Money was not given; hence sour relationship between him and our organisation,” claims the contractor.
Kamoto said he could not comment on the matter and could not pick calls when efforts to arrange for a face-to-face interviews were made neither did he respond to a text sent on the same. n