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Nocma, Escom crises irk HRDC

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Newton Kambala

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has penned Energy Minister Newton Kambala over governance concerns at National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).

At Nocma, HRDC is concerned with the move by the institution to proceed with the tender for the supply of fuel at a time some management key members had been arrested.

Similarly at Escom, HRDC claims that some members of management who were arrested at the institution are still making decisions.

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In a letter to Kambala, dated November 17 2020, HRDC has asked for a meeting with the minister to discuss the concerns.

“We have also noticed [that] Nocma has recently advertised several contracts while members of management are under arrest. Clearly, there is a management crisis at Nocma and thus we do not think that the remaining members of the executive management can form a ‘quorum’.

“Further to this, we have received concerns about a management crisis at Escom. It is alleged that some members of management were arrested but are still making management decisions. HRDC thinks that there is a crisis in the energy sector. We therefore write to seek an audience with you, Sir, to discuss the crises in the energy sector,” reads the letter which HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo have signed.

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It further adds that our sister paper Malawi News also conducted an independent investigation which revealed that Nocma was losing K12 billion annually due to contractual obligations.

In its investigation, Malawi News revealed that the country was losing about $16.2 million [about K12 billion] annually through fuel imports using the Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) system being used by Nocma.

The investigations, conducted from the beginning of 2020, revealed that, by opting for the DDU system, the country’s transporters were being suffocated as $21 million [about K15.75 billion] worth of business was going to foreign transporters.

However, Kambala said Sunday that his office had not received any request for a meeting from HRDC.

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