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HRDC calls for fuel deal probe

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The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called for investigations into petroleum deals involving billions of kwacha between Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), Aggreko and The National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma).

HRDC has asked the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate reports of “abuse of office and theft of fuel at Nocma”.

The letter released Tuesday is part of HRDC’s on-going whistleblower initiative.

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Escom has been using generators owned by Aggreko to back up power supply. Consequent to this, Escom entered into an agreement with Nocma for the supply of fuel. According to the letter, the agreement was approved by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera).

In the letter, HRDC says Nocma was supposed to be charging landing cost plus mark up, in the agreement which was signed in December 2017 and expired in December 2018.

“Nocma though, continued to supply fuel to Escom without a new agreement. Meanwhile, Nocma entered into a more expensive contract with SAHARA Inc of Egypt for the supply of fuel resulting in losses,” reads the letter in part.

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The letter says to cover for the loss it made, Nocma decided to forge the approved agreement signed with Escom to factor in the loss and thus billing Escom money in excess of K5 billion.

“Our investigations show that Escom was supposed to arrange transportation of the fuel from Nocma to generation sites but Nocma changed the arrangement and started delivering the fuel most of which was never delivered,” the letter says.

HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo signed the letter which then calls on the anti-corruption body to commence investigations into the matter as soon as possible.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) confirmed receiving the letter Tuesday.

“Indeed we have received the complaint but it will undergo all necessary internal reviews like all other complaints,” said ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala.

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