A team of investigators instituted by the Roads Authority (RA) in June to investigate misprocurement by the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Hiwa, has found him guilty and recommended disciplinary action against him.
The team comprised Chief Director responsible for Good Governance in the Office of the President and Cabinet Wezi Kayira (Chairperson); Chief State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Richard Santhe; Director of Human Resources Management and Development Hilario Chimota and Deputy Director in the Office of the Director of Public Procurement Edward Jeke.
RA Board mandated the investigators to probe further revelations in the Malawi News story of June 4 2016 that Hiwa had awarded a $303 823 (K217 million) contract to his own company called Infrastructure Consultants ( Infracon) Limited under a World Bank project, the Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project.
The contract was for the design and construction supervision services of various roads, bridges and drainage structures in the Central and Southern regions that had been damaged by floods that affected the country in 2015.
The investigators’ findings are in their report dated September 29, 2016 which was submitted to the board already and whose copy we have seen. The findings are not contrary to those given by Secretary to Treasury Ronald Mangani who also found Hiwa guilty and recommended for disciplinary action.
“Having investigated the allegations against Engineer Hiwa, CEO for RA, the Investigative Team has established that there was indeed a conflict of interest. The Team has established that Eng. Hiwa did not fully and frankly declare his pecuniary interest in INFRACON Limited and withheld material information to the Bank leading to the single sourcing of INFRACON Limited.
“The Team further established that Eng. Hiwa as the controlling officer was fully aware and involved in the processes leading to the award of the contract to INFRACON Limited contrary to (a) World Bank’s Procurement framework in the PAD (Procurement Appraisal Document) and other associated guidelines; (b) Public Procurement Act, 2003; (c) RA’s Conditions of Service; (d) the employment contract and (e) the RA Code of Conduct and Ethics,” reads the document in part.
The report adds: “He [Hiwa] may therefore be liable to disciplinary action in line with RA’s Conditions of Service and his employment contract.”
The report also established that Samuel Kadangwe, Project Coordinator at RA, by-passed the Internal Procurement Committee in his identification and selection of Infracon Limited.
“In this regard, the Board may wish to further investigate this matter,” reads the report.
The report also says the team found information that it is a tradition in RA for bidders to win contracts based on their connections with insiders (members of staff of RA) through either blood, marital or personal relationships.
“The Team, therefore, recommends that a comprehensive procurement audit should be conducted, with special focus to this particular allegation, to unearth other possible cases of irregular procurements and conflict of interest,” reads the report.
RA Board Chairperson Jackson Gomani confirmed that the team of investigators finished their work and submitted the report for the board’s action.
Gomani refused to tell the decision of the board.
“You will be informed when everything is finalised,” he said.
In a recent interview, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said the ministry may be compelled to make a decision that would by-pass the RA Board if it continues giving lame excuses to make a decision.
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