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DPP goes after public officers in KIA lift saga

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Steven Kayuni

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steve Kayuni has written Inspector General (IG) of Police Merlyne Yolamu, asking her to institute criminal proceedings against people linked to the procurement of a lift at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.

In 2017, the government, through the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), contracted a Kenyan firm to maintain a lift at KIA but the firm vanished with $48,000 (approximately K35.1 million) without refurbishing the dysfunctional control tower machine.

In a letter to Yolamu, dated November 10 2022, Kayuni said, following an audit inquiry of the National Assembly, there were revelations of procurement and non-delivery of the equipment by the Kenyan contractor.

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“Madam IG, it has been highlighted that it is a cause of worry for a payment to be made in full and no service rendered. These are public issues and there is a duty of care on the part of the fiduciaries. There is [a] need to follow up on the public trust issues,” he said.

Kayuni said, after going through legal provisions, he has found that there are issues of serious concern to the citizenry, namely pilferage of resources, fraud other than false pretences, utter theft, abuse of office and negligence.

In January this year, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda announced plans to prosecute public officers that were involved in the transaction which resulted in the country losing public resources.

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Former AG Kalekeni Kaphale attempted to trace the firm through Kenyan law firms after it was learnt that the company had closed shop.

It is reported that when the need arose to have the equipment, the department contacted Mitsubishi in Japan, who supplied the initial lift.

However, Mitsubishi advised the department to deal with its agency in Kenya but, after the incident, Mitsubishi said it dealt with all the outstanding contracts on the matter with the alleged ‘bogus’ contractor.

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