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HRDC pens Anti-Corruption Bureau on K7.8 billion power deal

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Continuing with its whistle-blowing initiative, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition has written the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate a K7.8 billion Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Power Plant construction deal involving a company called Black & Veach.

HRDC’s letter to ACB dated August 17 indicates that the government engaged Black & Veach to provide technical support, supervision and management of the project but there is no evidence that any work was done at all.

“Our investigations show that Black & Veach does not appear on the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority’s website nor is it registered with it. Furthermore, our enquiries indicate that this company is not registered in the USA,” reads the letter.

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According to HRDC, Elias Hausi, Director of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority was quoted in the media as saying their records indicated that the company was registered in the United States of America.

The letter also said the coalition is informed that the company belongs to a son of a politician.

“We are, therefore, asking the bureau to investigate whether Black & Veach was paid this money and what work they did, if any,” the letter adds.

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It also states that the Malawi Government and Genzhouba Group of China Engineering Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a power plant of 1,000 megawatts (MW).

The construction of the plant which was expected to use about 400,000 tons of coal annually from Moatize in Mozambique and was expected to commence in 2016 but was delayed due to lack of a feasibility study, lack of a power purchase agreement and the creation of a company to run the project.

The project was then scaled down to 300 MW in 2018 reportedly because the financiers reduced the loan amount from $700 million to $500 million.

The letter then said it is reported that government then abandoned its partner Genzhouba and became the sole financier of the project.

While confirming authoring the letter, Trapence said the coalition expects the ACB to conduct investigations into reported cases of corruption and bring them to their logical conclusion.

“We note that the ACB might have been failing to conduct and conclude such investigations because of politics. Now we have a new government in place which has expressed a commitment to see all those cases resolved. We expect the ACB to conclude investigations into these cases and update the nation accordingly,” he said.

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