By Mandy Pondani
Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda has said his office has commenced processes to seize property owned by private firms and contractors who have, over the years, been engaging in dubious business deals with government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
He added that he was targeting to recover about K50 billion every quarter from the suspension of business deals, and that his office was committed to recovering monies which MDAs paid to firms for goods and services that were not delivered to the contracting entities.
This comes barely a month after the AG’s office issued a directive stopping entities such as the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) from dealing with certain companies and their owners.
“Without prejudicing anything, I can confirm that we have been following up on property that has been acquired by these people. This also includes monies acquired through double payments. As such, we promised to recover all that,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.
He, however, said, for the mission to be successful, his office would rely on the cooperation of authorities in countries where the wealth of suspects is kept.
The Daily Times has gathered that some of the countries are United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
He said they were targeting at least 17 companies, accusing some of the companies of making unsubstantiated claims of over K2 trillion.
According to the AG’s letter to the Inspector General of MPS and Army Commander, some of the companies under the radar are Lido Electrical and Engineering, African Commercial Agency, Kasco Enterprises, SS Express Agency, HG General Supplies, ZamZam General Dealers,
Gratorite General Dealers, Novatech Engineering Supplies, Jets 200, Elegant General Dealers, L&G Tools and Engineering, Iris Group SA, Challenge International, Ary Solutions, Milton Connection, Universal Kit Supplies and Reliance Trading, owned by Karim Abdul and Aslam Batatawala.
And others owned by Shiraz Ferreira and C.A. Mahmood, who have, according to Nyirenda, been making huge claims from the government, totalling over K2 trillion.
“There is a need for cooperation from the concerned jurisdictions. I have, at the moment, given it a target of at least K20 billion or up to K50 billion for each quarter
We are doing all we can, in terms of recovering government resources,” Chakaka Nyirenda added.
Meanwhile, Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Chairperson Peter Dimba has hailed the AG’s office for spearheading efforts to get back what “unscrupulous business persons robbed from Malawi” and its people.
“Let me commend the AG and all other agencies’ commitment to dismantling the cartel that has, through dubious claims, defrauded and impoverished our nation over the decades,” Dimba said.
However, Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Gift Trapence challenged the government to tighten procurement procedures as one way of sealing loopholes.
“There is a need to tighten procurement procedures, especially on restricted tenders, to make sure that there is no flouting of procedures,” he said.
In recent months, the AG’s office has been challenging claims of over K2 trillion and scrutinising demand letters for compensation above K800 billion, on suspicion that they are falsified.