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Anti-Corruption Bureau returns to Escom’s K4.9bn fraud probe

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Three months after being turned away from Escom where it went to investigate a K4.9 billion fraudulent procurement case in which DPP members are implicated, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has returned to the electricity supplier for the investigation.

In October, Escom blocked the ACB from conducting the probe into the procurement whose process flouted laid down procurement procedures.

Escom said it stopped the ACB from the carrying out the investigation because the officer who the ACB sent for the task did not have mandate and did not seem to know what he was looking for.

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Now ACB has gone back to Escom for the investigation and Senior Public Relations Officer for the Bureau Egrita Ndala said on Thursday that the investigations are progressing well.

The ACB’s investigation followed a complaint it received which detailed how some ruling DPP members pressed the then Director of Finance at Escom Betty Mahuka to authorise payment, against her wish not to pay on account that the procurement was fraudulent.

Apparently under immense pressure, Mahuka resigned from her post.

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The complaint which moved the ACB to act then said Escom’s Board Chairperson then Jean Mathanga and officials from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) such as National Organising Secretary Richard Makondi exerted pressure on Mahuka.

The complaint said when Mahuka received the requisitions to process the payment for these procurements, she noticed that they were not authorised and were not on Escom’s Procurement Plan.

The Bureau had authorised the investigation on September 28.

But in their response to Malawi News in an earlier story on the matter, both Mathanga and Makondi denied their involvement in forcing Mahuka to authorise the payment.

The ACB’s earlier move to investigate Escom came a month after Mahuka’s resignation.

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