MBS Director General absence angers Parliament committee


By Isaac Salima:

The Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Infrastructure on Friday sent back officials from Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) in reaction to the absence of the bureau’s Director General Bernard Thole to a meeting.

The officials were summoned by the committee to explain the quality controls of vehicle number plates and why is it that only one supplier has been monopolising the business of supply the number plates.


The committee’s chairperson Enock Phale said they were not happy that Thole did not inform them about his failure to appear before the lawmakers.

“We received a complaint over the number plate issue; so we also wanted to hear MBS’s side. We expected the DG to lead the team but he did not make it.

“The letter of invitation was addressed to the DG, but during introductions, we learnt that he was not present. We had to send them back,” Phale said.


He said this was the second time for the office of the DG to fail to honour the summons after doing the same in September last year.

Thole was appointed MBS DG in March this year. He effectively inherited the number plates issue from his predecessor.

Phale said because the matter has dragged, his committee will reschedule the meeting to be in form of a public hearing this time.

“This time instead of hearing from MBS officials only, we will bring the complainants as well so that we hear from all of them,” the lawmaker said.

When contacted, Thole insisted that his office appeared before the committee.

“We went there and were told some of the things to bring before the committee and we will do that,” he said.

Some players in the transport industry had reportedly complained to the committee that one supplier has been monopolising the supply of number plates.

Phale said most of the players in the industry are small and medium enterprises that require support if they are to grow.

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