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HRDC pens PPDA on directive

Gift Trapence

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA), asking whether it has met the directive by President Lazarus Chakwera to blacklist companies mentioned in the K6.2 billion Covid-19 money fraud.

On April 18, 2021 President Chakwera ordered PPDA to blacklist the companies who were mentioned in the audit of the money’s expenditure as to have squandered part of it.

In the letter from HRDC’s lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, the coalition notes that since the directive was made, the authority has not shown any action as directed.

HRDC has demanded that, inline with the Access to Information law, PPDA should provide the coalition with information on whether the directive has been complied with and furnish it with the list of the blacklisted companies.

The letter further alleges that through their whistleblowing line, they have received reports of suspicious award of a contract to a company to supply PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] to Central Medical Stores through a restricted tender worth about MK600 million.

It says there are allegations, according to the report, of possibility that the tendering process did not follow procurement laws and regulation and demands the bid/tender valuation report.

“Be advised that if the above information is not voluntarily submitted to our client, we have instructions to seek court redress to compel your organisation to furnish our client with the sought-for information. In any case, if our client’s request is not met within 7 days, our client’s next course of action will be taken without any reference to you, whatsoever,” reads the letter.

Speaking to Malawi News, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence confirmed of the letter, adding that if the authority does not provide information within the stated period, PPDA will be infringing on the Access to Information law.

“If PPDA will not provide the information, it shall mean that they are contravening Access to Information law and HRDC will make necessary interventions,” Trapence said.

PPDA spokesperson Grace Thipa was not immediately available for a comment.

The audit report on how different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies spent the K6.2 billion, revealed a lot in how it was managed, which led to arrests and interdiction from work for some people.

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