Some ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) functionaries are among the suppliers of materials government has identified towards the much touted Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme (DASHP) commonly known as the Malata and Cement Subsidy.
But Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development insisted on Thursday there was no abuse of power and that tenders were floated and procedures followed in indentifying the suppliers.
Parliament allowed Government to spend K7 billion in the 2014/2015 financial year for the programme.
But on a list of 48 suppliers for Lilongwe District that we have seen, we
identified four companies whose owners are linked to the ruling party.
The four companies include Mulli Brothers Limited and a company trading as CPA that belongs to DPP deputy publicity secretary Zeria Chakale.
DPP Regional Secretary for the Centre trading as Adona Investments is also on the list just like Makuta Building Contractor whose proprietor is President Peter Mutharika’s special advisor on women affairs Anne Makuta.
We spoke at random to least six directors of other companies on the list that includes AKA Group of Companies, Brownstones, Chembe Trading, Dee Investments, Door2Door and Equitorial Kings.
They all said they are not linked to DPP.
“I am not linked to DPP; I am a business person who followed all the procedures including buying bid documents,” said proprietor of AKA Group of Companies when called on Thursday.
But Dee Investments owner Davie Kaunda said although he expressed interest he has not won the tender to supply and he is surprised that he has made the list.
Other companies also making the list include Chacabex, Claj, Cleolive International, EDN Lines, Far Distribution, Far West, Farmers World, Felton G. Enterprises, S. Filimoni and Fox G.D.
Others are Good Investments, Havilah Traders, Hydroplan Engineering, Ireen Investments, Jayvee Investments, Kudakwashe, Lens Investment, Lileza Investment, Majaye Investment, Uni General Dealers, Moigi, WD Investments, Sealand, MSO and Ogotirwa.
These companies are expected to supply cement bags, galvanised wire, wire nails, roofing nails and iron sheets.
An official from Farmers World said they got the contract not because of any political connections but because of their capacity to do the job.
“In fact, they did not give us all what we had expressed interest to supply,” the official said.
Chakale said she won the tender as an ordinary business lady and not because of her party connections.
“This was advertised in your newspaper and I applied by expressing interest to supply. I did not even indicate that I am from DPP and neither did those that were vetting our applications look at party affiliations,” she said.
Chakale said it is unfortunate to link the whole project to politics..
“I have been doing this business without imposing my party position. I have succeeded because of what I indicated to be my capabilities to do it. I also applied when advertised for suppliers of transformers. I did not succeed,” she explained.
Deputy Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Eunice Chipangula said it is not correct to say that the suppliers were picked because of their affiliation to the ruling DPP.
“We followed the due process of tendering in line with the Procurement Act. Even the identification of the suppliers was done in such a way that we did not look at their politics but application. We have a detailed report on how it was done and we can share it with you if you want it,” she said.
Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ivy Luhanga, communicated to the district commissioners last year to identify beneficiaries.
“The ministry wishes to urgently source information from the grassroots, through the District Commissioners on households whose houses require corrugated iron sheet roofing and cement flooring,” wrote Luhanga.
She then advised the DCs that the beneficiaries should be those whose houses were built with burnt bricks but are grass thatched with earth floor.
Other beneficiaries, according to Luhanga, are those whose houses are under construction at roofing level, requiring iron sheets and cement flooring as well as those whose houses had iron sheets but require cement for flooring and plaster.
“The subsidy will provide materials at half the price and the beneficiary will have to pay the other half,” said Luhanga in her July letter before saying that materials involved include a maximum of 30 iron sheets of 10 ft and 32- gauge per household and a maximum of 30 bags of cement per house.
A ministerial statement delivered in Parliament by former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Bright Msaka, on September 19, 2014 stated that the DPP government sought the support of Parliament to promote the use of iron sheets for roofing, and cement for flooring, plastering, in house construction and house improvement throughout the country, especially for low income Malawians.
To this end, he said, government had set aside the K7 billion in the current budget which will translate to 80 low-cost houses per constituency and 15,440 beneficiaries across the country in this pilot year.
“With increase funding in subsequent years, the number of houses in each constituency will increase; thereby affording many of our citizens the opportunity to live in decent homes,” he said.
Under the programme, Msaka explained to the MPs, each household will require a maximum of 30 iron sheets of 29/30 gauge, of 10 feet each; a maximum of 30 bags of cement of 50 kg each; 4 wooden window frames and window panes, 5 doors; 5 door flames; 3 kg roofing nails; 5kg wire nails and 52 assorted timber.
“The total cost of these materials and other ancillary items at current prices is approximately K450, 000.00 for a three-bedroom house. Each beneficiary will be required to contribute 50 percent of the total cost, namely K225, 000,” he said.
“However, cognizant of the reality that our rural people cannot raise this money at once, this caring government has arranged that the beneficiaries pay this amount over a period of 4 years,” he added.
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