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Mec vehicles on auction

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Sheriffs are Friday set to auction six vehicles which they impounded, from Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), last month over unpaid money the commission owes different suppliers.

The electoral body owes three separate companies over K90 million in services rendered.

The vehicles that are on sale include two Nissan Patrols, a Nissan Caravan Minibus and three Nissan UD 10-tonne vans. The vehicles were donated to Mec by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help the commission carry out its electoral mandates.

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Three companies namely Universal Trading Company, Platinum Solutions and Transworld Radio dragged the electoral body to court and towards the end of last year the High Court ordered the commission to pay the companies but the commission failed to oblige.

Judiciary Spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said the sheriffs in conjunction with the Private Vehicle Hire Organisation (PVHO) are selling the items that

were impounded from different individuals and institutions and Mec is one of them.

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“Mec has failed to honour the court order to pay those three companies within the court’s stipulated timeline. As a result, the vehicles that the sheriffs impounded from the electoral body are part of several items that the sheriffs are selling on Friday [tomorrow] and tomorrow [today] there will be viewing of the items,” Mvula said.

Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said when the vehicles were impounded, the electoral body sought the intervention of the treasury for a bailout package and the discussions are ongoing.

“It is undeniable fact that we owe these people money and we have to pay them. That’s why we asked the Ministry of Finance to help us. So, the discussions are still ongoing.

“Now, we have come to know about the sale through newspapers. Now that we know, we are thinking of the way forward on the issue. But at the moment I cannot disclose what we are going to do,” Mwafulirwa said.

Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) Executive Director, Steve Duwa, described the whole situation as embarrassing to the electoral body saying it is unfortunate that the solution to the issue is nowhere to be seen.

“First of all, the electoral body’s integrity is being damaged and it is something that I think could have been avoided. Secondly, these vehicles that are being impounded and later on sold are likely to affect the body’s core function of running elections.

“For example, shortly we may have by-elections and some of these vehicles could have been handy in that process,” Duwa said.

He also said the events will divert Mec’s attention from its core mandate of managing electoral process.

“It is important that we call on the management of the electoral body to ensure that these issues are resolved quickly. Otherwise, the integrity will be affected, both locally and internationally,” he said.

The vehicles were bought between 2009 and 2010.

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