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Former minister named in abandoned project

Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has offices scattered all over the city because a 21-year old fully funded project for a modern office complex was abandoned at foundation level by the then contractor Kadokera Building Contractors owned by former Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume.

Our sources said the project was for K750 million in 1994 and the funds came from Germany.

MCC Acting Chief Executive Officer Victor Masina confirmed on Saturday that the council is now suffering in terms of operations because of lack of space after a fully funded project was abandoned.

“There was funding that came to Mzuzu City Council and they paid the project in full but the contractor boycotted it. The council is now suffering because work was abandoned,” said Masina.

Added Masina: “What am told is that the contractor was paid all the money at once at the office but he did not do all the work. But let us not talk about the past. Let us move forward. The issue of Kadokera can be sorted out later.”

Masina said the council was moving forward to embark on another project for civic offices. He said they have come up with designs for the new complex and the council was looking for funds as there was no donor to fund the new project.

The abandoned foundation has decayed and grass has overgrown and some parts have been turned into flower beds. The foundation is also used as a storage facility for goods the city and police confiscate from vendors in the city.

In an interview on Saturday Chiume said he did not get the full amount arguing he would have been rich then. He also said Kadokera Building Contractors was now defunct.

“It used to be [Kadokera]. It stopped long time ago. I cannot remember [the amount received]. If I received all the money, I would have been very rich.

“It was not even 10 percent that went to the contractor. Any construction work goes by stages. At foundation level, what was the final account? Find out. Does it marry with what was given? Not all the money was given.”

Chiume refused to answer subsequent questions, referring all the enquiries to the leading consultant, a Mr. Kamwaza who was not available for comment.

And said: “You should also be writing good things about what we are doing. But I thank you for calling me and getting the facts.”

The foundation lies between the office block that houses the Mayor, his deputy, the director of administration and where the director of finance, the internal auditor and others are.

A bunch of overzealous police officers and two city officers led by security corporal, a Mr. Zimba detained our reporter, yesterday, for taking a picture of the foundation. The reporter was later released when the city’s director of finance was called and advised that there was no issue.

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