Cashgate haunts housing project


Over three years after revelations of massive plunder of public resources, called Cashgate, the Ministry of Health has said the Umoyo Housing Project, whose objective is to construct health centres and health workers’ houses, has stalled as the government awaits the Office of the Director of Public Procurement’s (ODPP) nod for re-tendering.

Mangochi Monkey Bay Member of Parliament, Ralph Jooma, quizzed Minister of Health, Peter Kumpalume on why nothing is happening on the project which already took off during the People’s Party (PP) time in power.


“We have information that DfID[Department for International Development] came with resources and wanted to finish the construction of the health centres but they are being blocked by the ministry itself. Last time we were asking this question, the minister said the papers are with the ODPP and in the committee of the budget, we invited ODPP to quiz them and they said they have nothing on their table. Everything is being blocked by the ministry under the leadership of our minister. Can he explain where this issue is?” Jooma asked.

While saying he does not play politics when it comes to the health of Malawians and health should be the last thing that people should be playing politics with, Kumpalume said there are some contractors that were involved in Cashgate which necessitated a pause on the whole project.

“Because of the years that have passed, it was thought necessary and we were advised at the ministry that we have to go through re-tendering because the cost of completing this project has significantly changed. So, last time, I think it was in November[2016], we submitted to the ODPP a number of projects that we wanted to revive under the Umoyo [Housing Project] and the ODPP asked for more time so that they can scrutinise them,” Kumpalume said.


He told the house that the ministry resent seven of the facilities for ODPP’s reconsideration.

“We have funds under the health sector revolving fund. It is not about the money, it is about procedures so that you don’t come to the ministry in future to say how come you did not follow this procedure. Once the ODPP gives us the no objection, we will proceed,” he said.

Another legislator asked why the Ministry of Health continues waiting for ODPP when Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) was able to get a no objection on Zambia maize purchase through a phone call, to which Kumpalume said ODPP officials are better placed to narrate their operations.

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