Continuing with its whistleblower initiative, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has written the Anti-Corruption Bureau raising concerns on how Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi awarded fertiliser contracts to various companies for this year’s Affordable Input Programme.
A letter from Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority dated September 4, 2020, gives SFFFRM a go-ahead to award the contracts but HRDC notes a number of alleged anomalies with the deals.
“It is alleged that in the advert for this procurement, it was stated that each company would be allocated a maximum of 5,000 metric tonnes [but] we have noted that several companies have been allocated more than this. Some companies have been allocated up to 30,000 metric tonnes.
“It is further alleged that some of the companies listed on this list belong to the same families. For example, Farmers World, Agora and Malawi Fertiliser Company belong to one family,” reads the letter in part.
The coalition also wonders why the government will pay K15,000 per bag for both Urea and NPK fertiliser when “it is common knowledge that Urea is cheaper than NPK”.
“We are also informed that the fertiliser lands in Beira, Mozambique and transported to Malawi. Given transportation costs, therefore, it should make sense that the fertiliser should be cheaper in the [Southern Region] than Chitipa. Given this scenario, we see a potential danger of suppliers only concentrating in the South than in the other regions.
“We appeal to ACB to commence the investigations as soon as possible and that the anti-corruption body will update the nation when the investigations have started,” reads the letter.
In an interview, Trapence said HRDC suspects that corruption might have happen to for these anomalies to take place.
“If the advert for the procurement says one thing and something else happens, it brings suspicion on what has happened. That is what we want the ACB to find out,” he said.