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Anti-Corruption Bureau orders restart of Marep 9 procurement

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Egrita Ndala

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has ordered Ministry of Energy to restart the procurement process for materials under phase nine of the Malawi Rural Electrification Project (Marep 9) as it takes other necessary action.

This follows complaints the ACB received in June this year, alleging irregularities and suspected corruption surrounding the procurement process in Marep 9, prompting the graft bursting institution to stop the process.

In the same month, Malawi News also revealed that the flagship programme has never been audited for the past 23 years despite blowing K40 billion per year of fuel levy, raising serious fears of massive abuse of funds.

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ACB spokesperson, Egrita Ndala, has confirmed the latest development.

“The ACB instituted investigations into the matter. The investigation has established that there were irregularities in the way the procurement process was handled. The Bureau has therefore, ordered the Ministry of Energy to restart the process,” Mdala said.

The story that Malawi News did exposed irregularities such as awarding of contracts without certifications by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, sub-standard work done by contractors and lack of accountability in the usage of Marep funds.

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The Marep fund was last audited in January 2020 but the audit was specifically on revenue performance.

In April, Parliament’s Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change (CNCC) sent back officials from Treasury for failing to provide solid information on Marep audit.

Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy

Kambwandira has since the commended the ACB, describing the situation at Marep as a serious violation of procurement rules governing operations of Marep.

Marep started in 1980 with Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) as the implementing agency through donor and own financing.

Later on, the government took over the implementation of the programme in 1995 and the Department of Energy.

The programme is executed in phases. Since its inception, eight phases of the programme have been implemented.

According to the ministry, this has involved extending power distribution lines to district administration centres, major trading centres, tobacco growing areas and the development of the 4.5MW Wovwe hydroelectric power plant.

The objective of Marep is to increase access to electricity for people in peri-urban and rural areas of the country.

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