The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has asked the Ministry of Water and Sanitation to furnish it with documents for a 2019 project that was meant to facilitate the construction of a modernised hydrological system and associated civil works.
The documents include bidding documents, tender documents, Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee minutes, evaluation reports, no objection order from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, contract documents and payment voucher, if it was made.
According to communication that we have seen, the ACB has demanded the documents to help it investigate alleged offences under the Corrupt Practices Act at the ministry.
The Ministry of Water and Sanitation has been given seven days to submit the documents and is expected to do so this week, according to sources.
Asked to confirm the development, ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala said: “The bureau serves notices to furnish documents on various institutions as part of the investigation process.”
Acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation Joseph Magwira said the communication from the ACB to his ministry was between the two institutions and not for public consumption.
He also said the seven-day ultimatum to submit the documents was a confidential.
“It is between us. It is our correspondence,” Magwira said.
While the ACB is waiting for the documents, a member of the evaluation committee James Chitete confirmed that he refused to sign the evaluation report.
“Yes, I refused to sign. The contract was approved in 2019. Why should I sign an old document in 2022? It is unethical,” Chitete said.
When asked whether the ministry was updating project documents for the sake of ACB, chairperson of the evaluation committee Peter Kadewere said the project was approved and original documents were with several stakeholders.
“We did the evaluation. Members agreed, everything was done and everybody signed the documents. The ministry should get the original documents,” said Kadewere, adding “it is unfortunate. It is the issue of documentation.”
The bid evaluation report, dated April 2019, shows that the preferred contractor was Hartsons Construction of Post Office Box 30082, Lilongwe, at K90,968,021.90.
“The bidder has been post-qualified as indicated in table 9 above and has been determined to have the capacity to carry out the contract. Therefore, the bidder is recommended to be awarded the contract,” the report reads.