The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Public Accounts has cleared the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) of any wrongdoing in the award of a contract worth K14 billion named Mzimba Integrated Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (IUWS) project.
NRWB awarded the contract to Sawa Group whose bid jumped from $10.1 million to $14.7 million.
It is this difference which prompted losing bidders to cry foul, even before the results were out, resulting in the probe after award of the contract.
Chairperson of the Committee Joseph Chidanti-Malunga told The Daily Times in an interview yesterday that the joint committee has received a report from the consultant they were working with in assessing the disputed contract, adding that the committee has adopted the report.
“You may recall that we had a consultant to look into the documents which we received from the Northern Region Water Board since it had some technical aspects. Now what has happened is that we got the report yesterday (Monday) and we have adopted it as a committee. We are just looking forward to the opportune time that we can present it in Parliament,” Chidanti-Malunga said.
Asked about contents of the report, Malunga said NRWB acted within the procurement rules.
“For example, it does not say in the Procurement Act about how big a tender should be so that it is advertised. So this is one of the recommendations that we will be looking at so that there are reviews in the procurement rules,” he said.
Meanwhile, the report is supposed to go through the business committee for advice as to when it will be presented in Parliament.
“As far as the committee is concerned, we have cleared the board of any wrong doing. However, the report will still be tabled in Parliament and we expect that there will be heated debate as MPs are keen to know the truth,” he said.
The project which is financed by the Opec Fund for International Development, The African Development Bank and Malawi Government is expected to benefit about 75,000 households in the district including the yet-to-be-constructed Mombera University.
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