The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has moved in to stop the auction of over 144 government vehicles and other assets after suspecting that senior officers at the Plant and Vehicle Hire and Engineering Services (PVHES), which is coordinating the disposing off of the property, have hidden some vehicles.
The ACB issued a restriction notice signed by ACB Deputy Director Reyneck Matemba which says that it has instituted an investigation on all government vehicles and plants that are earmarked for public auction.
PVHES Director, Jomo Mkandawire, told
Malawi News that at this stage these are just allegations but explained that they are already cooperating with the Anti- Corruption Bureau.
“Any comments that we can make will jeopardise the investigations by the bureau. We have stopped the sale,” he said.
Treasury Spokesperson Nations Msowoya said the Ministry of Finance is aware of the ongoing auction of the Government vehicles but said he was not aware of the ACB notice.
Kamu Auctioneers was expected to conduct the auction sale and the company’s Managing Director, Davie Kanyoza, said ACB should explain why they have stopped the process. ACB Deputy Director Matemba was not available for comment.
Initially, the vehicles and plants were subject of auction in Lilongwe on November 10, 2015.
Matemba has also written the PVHES Regional Controller demanding that he furnish the bureau within five working days all the original documents or certified true copies of all documents as specified which are in his possession or under his control.
“[These copies of all documents should be ones] the Anti-Corruption Bureau considers necessary for the conduct of an investigation into an alleged or suspected offence under the Corrupt Practices Act,” reads the notice from Matemba.
The documents that ACB was demanding from PVHES include a comprehensive list of all vehicles and plants that were subject of auction in Lilongwe as well as conditions of the plants and vehicles that were subject of auction as submitted by the last user government department.
“The ACB is also demanding any other information that is in your possession or control which the Bureau considers necessary for the conduct of investigations into an alleged or suspected offence under the Corrupt Practices Act.”
The matter came into the fore after staff members of PVHES noted that this year’s Entrusted Board of Survey members conducted themselves suspiciously in readiness of the auctioning of government vehicles and other items by public tendering system.
ACB is said to be working based on allegations that the staff members have made in a letter sent to the Secretary to the Treasury and copied to the Bureau.
The letter claims that PVHES members shared some of the government vehicles before the Actual Public Auction sale was conducted while some of the vehicles were vandalised.
“… Their engines, gear boxes, tyres with rims and other accessories have been removed and some have been hidden…,” the letter says.
The letter also alleges that some of the vehicles which the PVHES members have observed were in good condition and not parked at the Sale Yard as is required.
“… All the money that is fetched from these sales go to account number one of Malawi Government which in turn pay civil servants salaries, buy medicine for our hospitals, buy vehicles to replace the very same vehicles sold,” the staff members argue in the letter.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues