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ACB stops MDF, MPS deals

Clears State House of its involvement with Crossroads Hotel

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James Kadadzera

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has issued restriction notices to Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and Malawi Police Service (MPS), stopping the two institutions from dealing with four companies with immediate effect.

According to a statement issued by ACB, signed by its Principal Public Relations Officer Egrita Ndala, the bureau has instituted investigations into the deals in line with the Corrupt Practices Act.

Ndala, speaking yesterday in a telephone interview, acknowledged that ACB had issued the restriction noticse but declined to shed more light on the matter.

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“What I can say now is what is in the statement,” she said.

When contacted, MPS spokesperson James Kadadzera said they were yet to get the notice.

MDF acting spokesperson Emmanuel Mlelemba also said they were yet to receive the order.

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According to the statement, MDF and MPS are restricted from dealing with Malachitte FZE, Xaviar, Xelite Strips LTD and Crimson Trading.

“Following the restriction notices, the Malawi Defence Force and the Malawi Police Service are restricted from dealing with the contracts outlined above until the ACB has concluded the investigations or lifted the restriction notices,” the statement reads.

The contracts, with some dating to 2018, include the purchase of an armoured truck.

The statement indicates that the restricted contracts involving MDF are MDF/DOL/TE/01/20, its supplier is Xaviar Ltd and it dates back to March 30 2020; MDF/DOL/ARMOURED TRUCK/01/20, Malachitte FZE, October 31 2020; and MDF/ DOL/TBC, Crimson Trading LLC, October 31 2020.

The graft-busting body has stopped MPS in the following contracts: MPS/SS/08/04/2019, supplied by Xaviar Ltd and dated April 4 2019; MPS/SS/02/10/, Xelite Strips Ltd, October 2019 and LPO629951, Malachitte FZE, August 1 2019.

Meanwhile, ACB, in a separate statement which Ndala has signed, has indicated that it has cleared the State House of any wrongdoing after reports indicated that the State House inflated figures when making payments in respect of four foreign guests who were booked at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe in July 2020.

The bureau received a complaint alleging that the State House paid K12,5 million to Crossroads Hotel, under the name of Miguel Elias of Chitundu Distributors, using the State House account.

ACB took up the matter and instituted investigations.

“The bureau conducted investigations which, among other things, established that there were guests from outside the country that came on invitation of the State House in July 2020,” the statement reads.

The statement further says there was no inflation of figures by State House on the payments that were made to Crossroads Hotel and the payment made by Elias to the hotel for the accommodation did not come from the State House account.

“K12,500,000 payment was made by State House directly to Crossroads Hotel towards the accommodation costs of the guests and there was no corruption in the payments that were made to Crossroads Hotel as alleged in the complaint,” the statement reads.

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