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K800m wasted on stadium floodlights

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In a typical scenario of wastage of the already scarce resources, K800 million was spent on the installation of Kamuzu Stadium floodlights which are yet to be switched on six years down the line.

The stadium’s Manager, Ambilike Mwaungulu, said the floodlights were still a project yet to be completed.

“The floodlights do not even have electricity cables. It is only the towers that were completed. The bulbs were fixed just as a way of storage. The contractor felt that they would be better kept while fixed on the towers than storing them in a warehouse,” Mwaungulu explained.

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Charles Mhango, who was the stadium’s manager when the project commenced in 2010, confirmed that work on the floodlights was not completed, adding that the project was being hampered by uncertainty on whether the facility would be demolished or not.

Ministry of Sports and Culture owns the stadium. The ministry’s spokesperson, Christopher Mbukwa, said the K800 million should not be looked at in isolation as it was also meant to cater for other activities and not just the floodlights.

“It is difficult to isolate the floodlights only but the whole part two of the budget was K800 million in that year. The amount was also meant for other activities like renovation of toilets, sewer manholes, inside fence and partly, the VIP stand,” Mbukwa elaborated.

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He said the project was funded again this year but works could not resume due to a shift in the scope of activities at the ministry.

“The scope of activities did not include the floodlights. And we cannot necessarily say the project was stopped but it was not funded in the years that followed. That is a better way to put it,” Mbukwa observed.

The project was hatched in the 2010/11 financial year when K180 meant for the stadium’s renovation was diverted to the installation of the modern floodlights there.

At that time, the ministry had two priority areas–constructing new open stands and installing the floodlights with government settling for the latter to enable Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Super League of Malawi host games at night.

The K800 million is enough to fund all sports associations annually in the country. For instance, the 2015/16 allocation to Fam, which gets the lions share, was K100 million.

The floodlights were the reason Malawi’s match against Uganda during last year’s Independence Celebrations was not played for the full 90 minutes.

In February this year, the floodlights were also conspicuously non-operational when President Peter Mutharika attended overnight prayers at the stadium organised by Living Waters Church.

The stadium remains the only venue for local and international matches in the whole of Blantyre.

Background

The project stalled nine months after commencement owing to breach of tender procedures, shadowy registration status and questionable technical capacity of the main contractor.

In between, the contractor, MK Electrical Installation Limited, had its bank account frozen following a payment it made to an unnamed, shady dealing clearing agent in Blantyre, Malawi News has established.

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