Former Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) Chief Executive Officer Alfonso Chikuni has pointed fingers at the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) and Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust which was run by former First Lady Gertrude Mutharika for the hideous amounts of money used to construct sculpture statues at Parliament and Capital Hotel Roundabouts.
Speaking to Malawi News, Chikuni said LCC introduced a Lilongwe City Round about refurbishment initiative under the Beam programme and in September 2016, the council proposed that LWB partner them to beautify some parts of Lilongwe through Beam Trust.
“The project concept was that organisations would adopt some of the critical city roundabouts. The main work would involve face lifting of these sites as well as planting flowers, shrubs and grass. The arrangement was that LCC would identify and supervise the works contractor (which they did) and provide guidance on the designs while LWB meet the cost of the contractor.
“At its 22nd Ordinary Board Meeting held on Thursday, 12th September 2018, at Lilongwe Water Board, Madzi House Boardroom, the Board passed a resolution for management to proceed to finance the project. However, LCC would be the supervising entity. Signed minutes should be accessible at the Board offices,” he said.
Recently, details emerged that LWB and Blantyre City Council (BCC) were once cash cows for Beam Trust.
Documents that we saw indicate that LWB paid K29.29 million to Gaston Arts for construction of the sculptures statue in question.
However, LCC John Chome said we did not have our facts correct on the matter, arguing the city council did not build the sculpture statue.
“The city council did not build that statue do your research unfortunately I am in a meeting or else talk to our PRO but we did not build that,” he said.
However, Chikuni said the council approached LWB, further saying the Board approved the funds for the construction of the sculpture.
“I insist that it was the Board’s approved project. It was never my idea to appease anyone or any organisation. We spent within the approved CSR budget and with prior approval of the Board. Although the resolution shows MK45,413,200, about K29 million was spent. Members received and considered a proposal from Management to finance sculptures to the tune of MK35,413,200.00 for National Assembly Roundabout in addition to the construction and beautification of Capital Hotel Roundabout and National Assembly Roundabout which were undertaken in partnership with Lilongwe City Council through the Beautify Malawi Trust,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) to institute investigations on the alleged abuse of office by officials at LWB.
In a letter dated November 1, 2020, HRDC Chairperson and National Coordinator Gift Trapence and Luke Tembo respectively, say the human rights body is of the view that LWB should not have been involved in the construction of the sculptures