Members of Parliament (MPs) have demanded a report on the contract between government and a Kenyan company for the maintenance of a lift at Kamuzu International Airport (Kia).
Member for Chitipa South, Werani Chilenga, told the lawmakers on Tuesday that government was duped $48,000 (K35.1 billion) by a Kenyan contractor who disappeared after receiving the last instalment but without replacing the dysfunctional control tower machine.
Our sister paper, Malawi News, unearthed the issue late last year and reported that the government seemed helpless on the matter.
According to Chilenga, the government is failing to trace the contractor to recover the money as the company closed shop.
“This house in 2014 approved the funds to have the lift maintained. When officials from the Ministry of Transport appeared before the Transport Committee, they failed to disclose the name of the company and they told us that the issue is being handled by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” he said.
The lawmaker said the Justice Ministry should give a report before Parliament rises.
MP for Rumphi East, Kamlepo Kalua, concurred with Chilenga and demanded an explanation on the matter.
In his response Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, acknowledged the existence of the contract between the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the company to supply the equipment.
Tembenu said the Ministry through the office of the Attorney General has contacted an embassy in Kenya to help in identifying lawyers who can do a proper search in the company registry in Kenya.
“In the meantime, we are trying to locate the people who disappeared with the money because the information we have is that the company disbanded and stopped doing business,” he said.
Earlier, Tembenu explained that when the need arose to have the equipment, DCA contacted Mitsubishi in Japan who supplied the initial lift.
According to Tembenu, Mitsubishi advised the Department to deal with its agency in Kenya.
“The Department was told that they do not deal with individual customers directly and Mitsubishi referred them to an agent in Africa who was based in Kenya. But after the incident the Ministry contacted Mitsubishi which said they had dealt with all the outstanding contracts,” he said
Tembenu said the ministry will present the report when all necessary steps to catch the fraudster come to an end.
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