The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) has reinstated the ‘No Objection’, effectively authorising the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife to procure services for the construction of the K1.4 billion Orton Chirwa Mausoleum.
The ministry has been authorised to offer contracts to Hema Construction Limited and Central Construction Group Limited JV joint venture.
On March 10 2022, PPDA announced the withdrawal of the No Objection it granted to the ministry to build the mausoleum, saying they discovered that internal clearance processes had been inadvertently omitted at the time the No Objection was issued.
However, in a letter dated May 10 2022, PPDA has granted the No Objection to the ministry and advised it that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) shall monitor the execution of the project throughout all the phases and that any alteration to the contract shall need prior clearance from the authority and the ACB.
“This No Objection is issued on a condition that the resultant contract is entered into within 90 days from the date of issue. Be advised that if the 90 days elapse before the contract is entered the procurement process shall have to be restarted.
“If the failure is due to justifiable reasons beyond your control then you may, before expiry of the validity period, apply for the extension of the validity of the No Objection,” the letter reads.
Tourism Minister Michael Usi asked for more time to check with his team, saying he had just arrived back in the country.
Recently, Usi told Parliament that there were some things that had to be cleared on the issue of mausoleum construction.
PPDA Director General Edington Chilapondwa confirmed the development, saying the letter came from his office.
PPDA withdrew an initial ‘No Objection’ for the contract, saying some issues were not met.
President Lazarus Chakwera pledged to construct the mausoleum during this year’s Martyrs’ Day commemorations held in Nkhata Bay and proposed to name an international airport in Mzuzu after the fallen freedom fighter.
Construction of the K1.4 billion mausoleum was heavily criticised as some quarters said the amount was on the higher side.
But Infrastructure Sector Transparency National Chairperson Joe Ching’ani said the contract sum can better be challenged after appreciating bills of quantities which are forming the contract.
“I would expect anybody probing the contract to access the bills of quantities which make up the contract itself. You may also appreciate that what is featuring is the name mausoleum but, then, you would also discover that the facility will have annexed to it things like dwelling houses of caretakers, fence and all that. All these would be best appreciated if the bills of quantities were accessed,” he said.
Chirwa died on October 20 1992. He was one of the country’s freedom fighters and later minister of Justice and Attorney General.